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Finland conducts first air policing mission since joining NATO, Sweden to do so soon

A Finnish Air Force Hornet is flanked by an RAF Typhoon and a Romanian Air Force F-16 as the Nordic country takes on its first NATO air policing mission since joining the alliance. (Finnish Air Force)

Finland has commenced its first air policing mission since joining NATO, with its Nordic neighbour Sweden set to soon follow suit.

With Finland having joined NATO on 4 April 2023, a Finnish Air Force (FinAF) detachment of Boeing F/A-18 Hornet combat aircraft was declared ready to conduct quick reaction alert (QRA) duties out of Mihail Kogălniceanu Air Base in Romania under the auspices of the alliance's Southern Air Policing mission on 11 June. The milestone came days after the Swedish Air Force (SwAF) told Janes and other defence media that it would soon be undertaking its first alliance mission as well.

“The Finnish Air Force will participate in NATO's collective peacetime missions in Romania in June–July with a detachment of seven F/A-18 Hornet fighter jets and less than 100 airmen,” the FinAF said. “The objective of the air force's first major NATO deployment is to enhance the air defence of Romania, Bulgaria, and NATO as a whole through presence and readiness and contribute to the surveillance and protection of NATO airspace.”

For their Southern Air Policing mission, the FinAF Hornets will operate alongside UK Royal Air Force (RAF) Eurofighter Typhoon FGR4 jets, as well as Romanian Air Force Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcons that are based at Mihail Kogălniceanu Air Base.

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