For the first time since joining NATO, Finnish F/A-18 fighter jets have been certified for NATO’s Air Policing mission in Romania, according to a press release.

In a ceremony attended by international representatives, Brigadier General Avraam Kazantzoglou, Deputy Commander of NATO’s southern Combined Air Operations Centre at Torrejon, Spain, handed over the mission-ready certificate to Finnish F/A-18 Detachment Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Rami Lindström.

General Kazantzoglou remarked, “The Euro-Atlantic area is not at peace, as our interests, values and democratic way of life are challenged, but NATO is determined to safeguard the freedom and security of Allies against any and every threat. NATO does not seek confrontation and poses no threat to the Russian Federation. We will continue to respond to Russian threats and hostile actions in a united and responsible way.”

Seven Finnish Air Force F/A-18 fighter jets arrived at Mihail Kogălniceanu Air Base in early June, marking Finland’s first participation in NATO’s Air Shielding mission.

Lieutenant Colonel Lindström stated, “Last week, we demonstrated during an evaluation that our detachment knows NATO tactics, techniques and procedures, and is ready to assume Quick Reaction Alert duty here at Mihail Kogălniceanu Air Base. This deployment is an important milestone in our NATO integration. Our presence and readiness, in close cooperation with the Royal Air Force and the Romanian Air Force, will contribute to NATO’s collective defence and deterrence here in the Black Sea region.”

The Finnish jets will operate alongside British Royal Air Force Typhoons and Romanian F-16s, responding to potential threats to Romania’s airspace and ensuring territorial integrity. NATO enhanced Air Policing missions in its eastern member countries in 2014 following Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea.

Romania’s Minister of National Defence, Angel Tilvar, emphasized the importance of this cooperation, stating, “Your presence here shows that the cooperation between NATO countries in the common endeavour to strengthen the eastern flank has never been stronger. It is also undeniable proof of our two countries’ determination to cooperate, alongside the whole of NATO, as trusted Allies at levels that we could not have envisaged 30 years ago – in light of the current security landscape at our borders.”

The Finnish and British fighter jets will also participate in Allied training activities, assurance measures, and the Integrated Air and Missile Defence live-firing exercise Ramstein Legacy, conducted in Romania and Bulgaria with sixteen participating Allies.

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George has a degree in Cyber Security from Glasgow Caledonian University and has a keen interest in naval and cyber security matters and has appeared on national radio and television to discuss current events. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
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Frank62 (@guest_826512)
16 days ago

Wonderful to have Sweden & Finland in NATO. I hope it works out well for all.

DB (@guest_826642)
16 days ago

Only met 1 Finn. Sturdy is an adjective I would use.

When you look at their forefathers and the tenacity with which they fought for their homeland, should the current generation display the same resilience, I doubt they would ever be found wanting.

Great to have them finally on-board and a force multiplier in terms of their location and ability.