Two fighter jets landed at Tampere-Pirkkala Airport in the dark on Sunday at 7.20 pm. The pilots rolled their planes into the hangars of Satakunta Air Force and rested after their heavy transfer flight contract.

  • In the video above, two F-35 fighters land at Tampere-Pirkkala Airport.

It is still unclear whether the planes remaining on the new continent will participate in any Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighter test week. In any case, they were late on Monday.

The Finnish Air Force has required the presence of two fighters.

"Refueling machines could not support"

Lockheed Martin test pilot Billie Flynn has been tweeting daily about the transfer stages since last Wednesday. On Sunday evening, he said two departing F-35s had abandoned their attempt to get to Finland.

“Refueling aircraft couldn't support crossing four F-35 oceans, so we sent two. I'm looking forward to this week's test flights…, ”the 5,000-hour fighter ace tweeted, implying that his plane had arrived.

Continuous refueling

The F-35 multifunctional fighter jets are not intended for long-haul flights, so they need to be refueled in the air at intervals of about 1,000 kilometers, ie several times on intercontinental transfer flights.

A special refueling machine must therefore constantly monitor them. The speed of the fighter jets must be adapted to its speed. In the event of stops at ground bases, both the fighter jets and the refueling machine must receive refueling.

Five day trip

Lockheed Martin's F-35 Lightning II fighters' trip to Finland was delayed by storms in North America and the Atlantic, which forced them to make several changes to their flight plans.

The planes were already expected to arrive in Finland on Thursday, as Lockheed's goal was to get the fighters on time to avoid storms and the pilots to recover from the time difference.

The most challenging leg from Canada to Finland (via British or Danish bases) was delayed by a couple of days when planes stalled in the country avoiding Ciara storm.

  • Read more: F-35 fighter jets missed today due to storm - Ambassador Pence praises Finland in Pirkkala

Service arrived as early as Wednesday

As early as Wednesday, two giant US Air Force transport aircraft had landed on Tampere-Pirkkala airport. The C-17 Globemasters brought in four ground organizations called for by fighter jets.

With the same stencil, Lockheed Martin acted as he took his fighter jet to an evaluation event organized by the Swiss Air Force.

The Globemasters left Finland on Thursday afternoon.

Now it's the turn of the F-35

Fading fighters participate in an evaluation known as the HX Challenge. It serves the largest and most expensive weapon acquisition in Finnish history, replacing the Air Force's 64 Hornet Air Defense capabilities.

The number of fighters to buy is not predetermined, but bidders must state how many machines can replace the air defense created by today's Hornets.

The testing center is located at the Pirkkala base of Satakunta Airport. There is a wide range of flying operations, which helps to find out how candidates are able to cope with diverse tasks in challenging winter conditions, according to Finnish-defined criteria.

The purchase price cap has been raised to EUR 10 billion. A completely separate figure is the running costs of each candidate.

Norwegians have estimated that the lifetime cost of the 52 fighter jets they have ordered in 30 years would be around € 28 billion.

The test flight tour ends

Of the five fighter candidates, Eurofighter was first tested in early January. Then French Rafale and Swedish Gripen. Now begins the US F-35 evaluation week. The last one is the turn of the US Super Hornet (and Growler).

In the next step, experts from the Finnish Defense Administration will analyze the huge amount of data resulting from the test flights and continue to evaluate HX bidders through simulated flight missions and virtual war games.

The Defense Administration ranking will be completed later this year. It will not be made public. The Government will decide on the next Finnish fighter type next year.