Finland to Join NATO’s Air Shielding Mission in Romania

A detachment of the Finnish Air Force’s F/A-18 Hornet fighter jets will participate in NATO’s upcoming Air Shielding Mission in Romania from June to July.

The first-time contingent will be composed of up to eight planes and 100 airmen from the Karelia Air Command in Siilinjärvi, Finland.

The fleet will operate alongside UK Royal Air Force Typhoons, increasing the alliance’s presence on NATO’s eastern flank, joining quick-reaction alert duties, patrol flights, and air exercises.

Finnish Air Force Commander Major General Juha-Pekka Keränen said the deployment will boost the country’s interoperability with its allies.

“For the Finnish Air Force, the objectives of the deployment are to enhance our integration into NATO air power, to further deepen bilateral cooperation with the Royal Air Force, and to develop our capability to operate from an Allied air base,” Keränen added.

The Hornet fleet will also take part in NATO Allied Air Command’s Ramstein Legacy 24 exercise, a multinational program that seeks to bolster the alliance’s joint air power amid rising tensions in Europe.

NATO’s Air Policing and Air Shielding

The NATO Allied Air Command promotes peacetime operations through air policing and air shielding missions, which consist of surveillance and quick-response drills.

Its more recent activities include intercepting unreported Russian planes flying close to allied territories.

Portugal and German fighter jets intercepted Russian military aircraft on two separate occasions. The planes were escorted out after the air command confirmed they were operating without a flight plan.

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