Swedish and Finnish Defence: Areas of Cooperation
Colonel Carl-Johan Edström, Chief of Operations, Swedish Air Force, talked about cooperation with the Finnish Air Force at the recently held Kauhava Air Show 2020, Kauhava, Finland.
Both Sweden and Finland face similar set of challenges in terms of weather and terrain. Both countries have a demanding military operational environment, and since 2013, they have built a level of interoperability as well, courtesy several international exercises where they have jointly participated. Some of the training exercises have focussed on developing capabilities like dispersed operations, aerial refuelling, and air-to-ground and air-to-air combat.
“If Finland chooses Gripen, it will further strengthen the relationship between the two air forces, and create more opportunities for an even deeper cooperation,” Colonel Edström said.
Operating the same fighter and sharing knowledge and resources will have a positive effect on both the countries. Besides opportunities for combined air operations, both countries can also benefit from long term co-development and knowledge sharing. There will be logistical benefits of sharing resources as well.
“Areas of cooperation include capability and system development, operational capability, and enhanced training and logistics,” Colonel Edström said.
Saab offers Finland 64 Gripen E fighters, an extensive weapons package, as well as two GlobalEye Airborne Early Warning & Control (AEW&C) aircraft. The weapons package includes BVR missile Meteor, the IRIS-T for air targets at short distance, SPEAR for ground targets at medium distance, and the KEPD350/Taurus for long-range strike missions against ground targets. The offer also includes a technology transfer package with a proposition to carry out substantial final assembly work in Finland.