The Eurofighter aircraft has become the first of five competitors in the Finnish future fighter acquisition program to start a series of flight evaluation trials.
According to the Eurofighter Typhoon consortium, Eurofighter aircraft from the UK Royal Air Force started the flight series on January 10.
The 2020 HX Challenge is being undertaken by the Finnish Air Force as part of the ongoing HX program, the competition being run by the Finnish defense forces to replace the country’s existing F/A-18 fleet.
The Eurofighter is set to spend five days performing a series of evaluations in the cold conditions of Tampere.
The trials program will enable the Finnish Air Force to assess the performance of each aircraft, systems and sensors in the Finnish operating environment. The Eurofighter trials are led by air crew from BAE Systems’ Flight Operations team, led by Chief Test Pilot, Steve Formoso and test pilot Luke Gili-Ross.
Other aircraft that will be tested during the challenge include the Dassault Rafale, Saab Gripen E, Lockheed Martin F-35A, and the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.
The country is expected to pick a winner by 2021 and receive first aircraft by 2025. Finnish Air Force’s Hornet aircraft are scheduled to retire by 2030.