As the Swedish and Finnish NATO bids progress, the alliance is already focusing on fighters.


Fighters over the Norwegian Arctic

On June 2, 2022, a fighter jet flew north of Norway during exercises with Norwegian, Finnish, French and German aircraft.Norwegian Air Force

  • Sweden and Finland applied for NATO membership in May, and the alliance is moving swiftly to recognize them.

  • The two countries already have close ties with the military alliance.

  • NATO leaders see immediate benefits for both countries, especially fighters.

As Finland and Sweden join NATO rapidly, in early June, an already close partnership with the Nordic countries was exhibited over the Nordic countries.

On June 2, the Swedish and Finnish Air Forces trained with the British, French, German, Norwegian and Belgian Air Forces along the west coast of Norway.

About 45 aircraft participated in the exercise. It was intended to demonstrate its ability to carry out complex aerial operations over long distances.

German Eurofighter Typhoon Fighter KC-135 Tanker

Germany’s Eurofighter Typhoon will refuel from USKC-135 over the Baltic Sea during BaltOps 22 on June 9, 2022.U.S. Air Force / Senior Airman Nicholas Swift

Chief of the Norwegian Air Force Said “It was the first time for me to do such advanced exercises with NATO and partner countries including Sweden and Finland.”

From June 5th to June 17th, the armed forces of Finland and Sweden joined the armed forces of 14 NATO member states, including the United States, for Operation Baltic 2022. ..

U.S. Air Force KC-135 Tanker during one training session Refueling Jets from the United States, Finland, Sweden and Germany can continue to operate over the Baltic Sea.

Scandinavian sky

Finland F / A-18 Sweden JAS39 Gripen Fighter

Finnish F / A-18 Hornet and three Swedish JAS39 gripens.Finnish Air Force

The June exercise not only showed that Finland and Sweden had strong ties with NATO’s neighbors, but also showed their own considerable military strength.

Finland currently operates 55 McDonnell Douglas F / A-18C Hornets acquired in the 1990s.Despite that era, the single-seat F / A-18C is a capable aircraft and can be switched quickly. Between fighters When Attack configuration.. It is also operated by the US Navy and Marine Corps, and many US allies, and is fighting in North Africa, the Middle East, and the Balkan Peninsula.

Finland Ministry of Defense The wasps will be abolished by 2030 and will give way to the 64 F-35A ordered by Helsinki in December with the largest military procurement in the country. The first F-35 will be delivered by 2026.

Finland F-18F-35 fighter

On December 10, 2021, the Finnish government approved the purchase of the F-35 as the next multirole fighter.Finnish Air Force

5th generation F-35A More and more popular Among allies of the United States. Stealth jets can act as fighters or attack platforms and use their intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities to increase the effectiveness of friendly air and ground forces.

The only fighter in Sweden is the Saab JAS.39 Gripen. This is a domestically designed and manufactured aircraft that is not advanced but very effective.

“The Gripen doesn’t have the stealth of the F-35 or the ability to destroy the brains of the F-15, but it’s a reliable and cost-effective aircraft that brings many important features to combat.” With an aviation analyst Sandboxx Editor-in-Chief Alex Hollings told the insider.

Gripen is also versatile. Its small size makes it possible to “carry highly effective air-to-air weapons while taking off and landing even on harsh runways and highways.” meteor When AMRAAM missileSaid Hollings.

Swedish jets are one of the few fighters capable of supercruise while maintaining supersonic speeds without dumping fuel into the afterburner. This reduces fuel consumption, improves the durability of the aircraft at supersonic speeds, allows it to fly faster and carry less fuel.

Swedish Air Force Saab JAS39 Gripen

Swedish Air Force Saab JAS39 Gripen, United Kingdom, July 20, 2019.U.S. Air Force / Technical Sergeant Aaran Thomasson

The US-made F-22, the French-made Dassault Rafale, and the multinational Eurofighter Typhoon are the only other jets capable of supercruise. None of the Russian jets have that capability.

Hollings said the Gripen program was controversial. For allegations of fraud For some international sales, he added, “It’s easy to fly, it’s cheap to maintain, it’s designed for quick upgrades, and everything can be fought on a convenient jet.”

I’ve never seen a battle, but Swedish jets have proved their worth in exercises. In particular, on the first day of a major US-led exercise in Alaska in 2016, it recorded 10 kills against peer aircraft, including the 4.5th generation Eurofighter Typhoon. Without casualties..

The Swedish Air Force operates the 71 Gripen C and has ordered the 70 Gripen E, an upgrade of the -C model, to be delivered by 2027.

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Air Force B-52F-16 Eurofighter Typhoon Fighter

June 9, 2016, the US B-52 with two Polish F-16s, two German Eurofighter Typhoons, four US F-16s, and four Swedish Gripen.U.S. Air Force

Despite their capabilities, integrating a fleet of two Air Forces and 126 fighters into NATO’s operations is not easy.

Both F / A-18C and Gripen are used by other NATO member states, but tactical integration is achieved through frequent joint exercises such as those conducted in June.

“The mix of national air forces and the platforms they operate always has its own challenges,” Hollings told insiders. “When considering interoperability (both technical and tactical), aircraft combinations are a powerful tool in large-scale combat.”

Increasing the variety of aircraft with NATO will give the alliance a tactical advantage.

Fighter jets Norwegian Arctic aerial refueling aircraft

The jet will be refueled from a German Air Force tanker on June 2, 2022, during a Norwegian-led exercise using Finnish, French and German aircraft.Norwegian Air Force

“Fighters act like cage fighters in that pilots want to take advantage of the strengths of their aircraft and the weaknesses of enemy aircraft,” Hollings said. “You really complicate your opponent’s combat calculations as you head into battles with a variety of free-use fighters, each demonstrating their strengths.”

The F-35A and Gripen Es will make the Finnish and Swedish air forces more capable, but even without those advanced jets, NATO leaders aspire to join the Finnish and Swedish troops into the alliance. I am.

General Christopher Cavoli said he would take over the head of the US European Army and the commander of the European Supreme Allied Expeditionary Force in July. Nomination hearing In May, Finnish and Swedish troops will “bring considerable capacity and capacity to the alliance from day one.”

“From a military perspective, we look forward to Finland and Sweden joining the alliance,” Cavoli added.

Constantine Atlamazoglou is committed to transatlantic and European security. He holds a master’s degree in security studies and European affairs from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.You can contact him LinkedIn..

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