Aerial Warfare

Finnish and Swedish Air Force Continue Integration Training with NATO Partners

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Finnish and Swedish Air Force Continue Integration Training with NATO Partners

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Finnish and Swedish Air Force Continue Integration Training with NATO Partners
Finnish and Swedish Air Force Continue Integration Training with NATO Partners

The air forces of Finland and Sweden have conducted flying maneouvres over the Baltic Sea and in the Baltic States’ airspace practicing interoperability, integration and refuelling drills with other Allied air forces. During combined flights and air-to-air combat drills over the Baltic Sea and in Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian airspace at the end of March, Finnish and Swedish fighter pilots trained with their colleagues from France, Belgium, Germany and Poland. In addition to Finnish F/A-18s, the mission involved Swedish, French, Belgian, German and Polish fighter jets as well as a NATO AWACS aircraft.

The fighter jets refuelled from German Airbus A400M Atla military transport aircraft and Multinational Multirole Tanker Transport Unit (MMU) irbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT). Under the responsibility of the Combined Air Operations Centre Uedem, NATO has conducted Finland-Sweden Training Events for several years aiming at integrating the two Nordic Allies when they were Partners. The continuation of this regular training opportunity supports firming up integration and enables constant close cooperation among Allied Air Forces in the Baltic Sea region.

Finnish F/A-18 fighter jets with  receiving fuel from a German A400M tanker/transport aircraft during combined drills enhancing interoperability and skills of Allied pilots.
Finnish F/A-18 fighter jets with receiving fuel from a German A400M tanker/transport aircraft during combined drills enhancing interoperability and skills of Allied pilots.(Photo by Finnish Air Force)

Finland and Sweden share a long history, similar legal systems, and an economic and social model. Finland was part of Sweden for almost 700 years from around 1150 until the Finnish War of 1809 after which Finland became an autonomous part of the Russian Empire as the Grand Duchy of Finland. Since Finland gained its full independence from Russia in 1917, Finland and Sweden have been close partners, enjoying a special relationship. he number of Finnish-Swedish connections and the quality of cooperation in most areas of the government is unique when compared to other international relations involving both countries.

During World War II Sweden declared its neutrality, but in the Winter war it declared itself non-belligerent and supported Finland’s cause to a limited extent. This included over 8,000 Swedish army and air force volunteers. After the war, Sweden had a clear headstart in the post-war economical development, much due to its neutrality in the war. Historically, both countries maintained neutrality and did not pursue NATO membership. However, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which began in 2022, led to the two countries applying for NATO membership on 18 May.Finland officially joined NATO on 4 April 2023, while Sweden joined on 7 March 2024.

Swedish JAS-39 and  Finnish F/A-18 fighter jets conducting air-to-air refuelling manoeuvres with a German A4000M over the Baltic Sea.
Swedish JAS-39 and Finnish F/A-18 fighter jets conducting air-to-air refuelling manoeuvres with a German A4000M over the Baltic Sea. (Photo by Finnish Air Force)

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