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Finnish fighter jets arrive in Romania to take part in NATO missions

Air Force
Publication date 3.6.2024 19.45
Press release

The Finnish Air Force will participate in NATO's collective peacetime missions in Romania in summer 2024. Finnish F/A-18 Hornet fighter jets arrived at Mihail Kogălniceanu Air Base on Monday 3 June 2024.

A Finnish F/A-18 Hornet at Mihail Kogălniceanu Air Base in Romania. Photo: Finnish Air Force


The Finnish Air Force’s first deployment in support of NATO’s Air Shielding mission in Romania started today with the ferry flights of F/A-18 Hornet fighter jets from Karelia Air Wing’s Rissala Air Base to Mihail Kogălniceanu Air Base in Romania. The ferry flights were carried out with air-to-air refueling support from a German Air Force A400M tanker aircraft, without any intermediate landings. 

At Rissala Air Base, Colonel Johan Anttila, Commander of Karelia Air Wing, watched with confidence the departure of the fighter detachment to Romania.

‒ This is an important day for the Finnish Air Force and Karelia Air Wing. Our aircraft took off for Romania today to perform the Finnish Air Force's first participation in NATO's peacetime missions, the basic idea of which is to maintain the Alliance's collective defence and deterrence. The enhanced presence at Mihail Kogălniceau base will continue until the end of July, after which personnel and equipment will return to Finland, says Col Anttila.

At Karelia Air Wing, Colonel Johan Anttila watched the departure of the F/A-18s to Romania. Photo: Finnish Air Force


The Finnish fighter detachment will include seven F/A-18 Hornet jets and less than 100 airmen. The detachment consists mainly of Karelia Air Wing’s active-duty personnel, but also includes airmen from other Air Force units. The first rotation will be led by Lieutenant Colonel Rami Lindström, Commander of Fighter Squadron 31, Karelia Air Wing. 

‒ Karelia Air Wing has been preparing for this deployment already for several months. All branches have made a significant contribution, and logistics in particular is what the professionals have been talking about. The logistical flows left for Romania already earlier this spring, and the construction unit has been preparing the facilities to be used by the Finns, says Lt Col Lindström. 

Lt Col Rami Lindström commands the Finnish fighter detachment in Romania. Photo: Finnish Air Force


NATO evaluation in early June

In the first week of June in Romania, NATO will carry out an evaluation, which will enable the Finnish fighter detachment to assume the quick-reaction alert duty. The Finnish F/A-18 Hornet jets will be on QRA duty on alternate weeks with the Royal Air Force's Typhoon jets as directed by NATO's military command structure. In addition to the QRA duty, the Finnish detachment deployed to Romania will fly patrol flights, carry out F/A-18 pilots’ routine flight training, and participate in joint Allied exercise activity. 

‒ We have studied NATO tactics, techniques and procedures carefully in advance. The detachment personnel have worked hard, both in the classroom and in simulators, to achieve the level of proficiency required in NATO missions. I am confident that the evaluation will demonstrate our ability to deliver high-performance airpower for the Alliance, says Lt Col Lindström. 

‒ This will be the first actual NATO deployment in the history of the Finnish Air Force, involving the participation in the Alliance's collective peacetime missions far from home. The support of the Royal Air Force has been invaluable during the planning phase. By contributing to the Air Shielding mission together with the RAF, we will strengthen the air defence of Romania and Bulgaria, and thus the Alliance as a whole – after all, that is the basic ideal of NATO, one for all and all for one, he emphasizes. 

Finnish F/A-18 Hornet jets at Mihail Kogălniceanu Air Base in Romania. Photo: Finnish Air Force