The Swedish and Finnish Air Forces are among the most effective in NATO.
Finland and Sweden will seek to join NATO after the Ukraine crisis, but what would their air forces contribute to the table? Due to bilateral and multilateral exercises, both nations have acquired a high level of interoperability with their NATO neighbors. Sweden and Finland have embraced NATO standards for their armed systems incrementally. These Nordic nations and NATO partners share a geopolitical perspective on fundamental European security challenges. The Swedish Air Force has two Gulfstream IV aircraft outfitted with intelligence equipment for electronic reconnaissance (ELINT) operations.
It also has two SAAB 340 AEW airborne early warning aircraft equipped with an Erieye airborne scanning radar that can identify aircraft in all flight regimes and weather conditions. The contributions of Sweden to NATO’s logistical transport capacity will be limited. About 20 AW109 LUHS light helicopters, 18 NH90 medium helicopters (9 for transport and 9 for ASW tasks), and 15 UH-60M BlackHawk are presently in service with the Swedish Armed Forces. The combat capabilities of the Finnish Air Force are concentrated on more than 50 single-seat F/A-18C Hornets and seven twin-seat fighter planes. Sweden has access to specific heavy/strategic transport capabilities as a partner in the HAW flotilla with Finland and other NATO nations.
More than 120 modern combat aircraft of the fourth generation would be deployed to bolster NATO’s northern flank. In theory, the Baltic Sea would become a private NATO pool or lake, from which Russia would find it very difficult to withdraw. On the Kola peninsula, where Russia deploys a significant portion of its strategic nuclear deterrent, Finland would share a border with a NATO ally spanning more than 1,300 kilometers.