Finland joins NATO air shield mission in Romania

A detachment of F/A-18 Hornet fighter jets from the Finnish Air Force will participate in the upcoming NATO air shield mission in Romania from June to July.

The first contingent will consist of up to eight aircraft and one hundred pilots from the Karelia Air Command in Siilinjärvi, Finland.

The fleet will operate alongside the British Royal Air Force’s Typhoons, increasing the alliance’s presence on NATO’s eastern flank by participating in rapid response alerts, patrol flights and aerial exercises.

Major General of the Finnish Air Force Juha-Pekka Keränen stated that the deployment will increase the country’s interoperability with its allies.

“For the Finnish Air Force, the objectives of the deployment are to improve our integration into the NATO air force, further deepen bilateral cooperation with the Royal Air Force and develop our ability to operate from an allied air base,” Keranen added.

The Hornet fleet will also participate in NATO Allied Air Command’s Ramstein Legacy 24 exercise, a multinational program aimed at strengthening the alliance’s joint air force amid rising tensions in Europe.

NATO air policing and air defense

NATO Allied Air Command promotes peacetime operations through air policing and air defense missions, which consist of surveillance and rapid response exercises.

More recent activities include intercepting unreported Russian aircraft flying close to allied areas.

Portuguese and German fighter jets twice intercepted Russian military aircraft. The planes were escorted out after air command confirmed they were operating without a flight plan.