Tag Archives: Finnish Air Force

Check Out This Interesting Video Showing Finnish Air Force F/A-18C/D Hornet MLU 2 Jets Carrying JASSM, JSOW and JDAM air-to-ground weapons

Here’s a somehow rare video showing Finland’s Boeing F/A-18C/D Hornet fighters, upgraded to the MLU 2 configuration, carrying JSOW (Joint Standoff Weapon), JASSM (Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile), and GBU-31 JDAM (Joint Direct Attack Munitions) bombs.

All the 62 Finnish Air Force’s Boeing F/A-18C and F/A-18D Hornet multi-role fighters have been upgraded to the MLU 2 configuration. Completed between 2012 and 2016, Mid-Life Upgrade 2 has introduced the ability to employ medium and long-range (standoff) air-to-ground weapons. The Finnish Hornet’s air-to-ground weaponry now includes short-range precision-guided bomb (Joint Direct Attack Munition, JDAM), medium-range glide bomb (Joint Standoff Weapon, JSOW) and long-range standoff missile (Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile, JASSM).

“The Hornet’s air-to-ground weapons as a new option in the Defence Forces range of capabilities enables to employ effective precision-guided weapons for expeditious and flexible support of joint operations in various locations,” says the Finnish Air Force website. “Thus, the Air Force is capable of supporting joint combat not only by repelling airborne attacks but also employing weapons against fixed targets where instantly required.”

The Finnish Air Force’s fleet of “legacy Hornet” dates back to 1995, when the first examples were introduced into service. In order to keep them in service till 2025–2030, the Finnish Hornets have undergone two mid-life upgrades. The Mid-Life Upgrade 1 (MLU 1) was completed between 2006 and 2010 and was aimed at maintaining and improving the aircraft’s air-to-air capability. As part of MLU 1, Finland F/A-18s got the AIM-9X Sidewinder IR-guided AAM (Air-to-Air Missile), the Joint Helmet-Mounted Cueing System, the Moving tactical map display (Tactical Aircraft Moving Map Capability, TAMMAC) as well as new radios. The Mid-Life Upgrade 2 (MLU 2) in 2012–16 focused on providing air-to-ground capability as well as some other interesting add-ons, such the Link 16 and the Litening targeting pod.

The following video shows the Hornets carrying GBU-31 JDAMs, JSOW and JASSM (as well as the Litening pod) during flight testing conducted both at NAS Patuxent River, in the U.S. and at home. You won’t find many videos showing the Finnish Hornets with some heavy weaponry, that’s why the following footage is particularly interesting.

The Finnish Air Force Has Just Released Some Really Cool Photos Of Russian Combat Aircraft Intercepted Over The Baltic

Beriev A-50, Ilyushin Il-22, Sukhoi Su-24, Sukhoi Su-27, Sukhoi Su-34 and Tupolev Tu-160 aircraft, were photographed by the Finnish Hornets. First appearance of a Blackjack over the Baltic.

The Finnish Air Force has been quite busy lately intercepting and escorting Russian military aircraft flying in international airspace, over the Gulf of Finland and the Baltic Sea, in the vicinity of Finland’s airspace.

For instance, on June 14 and 15, several air assets, including Beriev A-50, Ilyushin Il-22, Sukhoi Su-24, Sukhoi Su-27, Sukhoi Su-34 and Tupolev Tu-160 aircraft, flew close to the Finnish airspace, forcing the Finnish Air Force to scramble its F/A-18 Hornet on QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) in order to intercept the Russian aircraft.

The photographs in this post were taken by the Finnish F/A-18 pilots during such intercept missions.

Beriev A-50 (Finnish Air Force)

An Il-22 escorted by a Su-27 Flanker (Finnish Air Force)

A pair of Fencers shadowed by a Finnish F/A-18 Hornet (Finnish Air Force)

A two-seater Flanker (Finnish Air Force)

A Su-34 Fullback (Finnish Air Force)




This armed Russian Su-27 Flanker has (probably) violated the Finnish airspace today

The Finnish Ministry of Defense has released a photo of an armed Russian Flanker that possibly violated Finland’s sovereign airspace.

In the last few years we have reported several close encounters between Russian and NATO or allied aircraft in the Baltic region.

However, all these encounters occurred more or less in accordance with a standard “script”: the Russian aircraft, approaching or skirting some sovereign airspace, caused the fighter jets in QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) to scramble to perform a VID (Visual Identification) and take some cool shots like those we have published here in the past.

And, above all, the Russians almost always remained in international airspace.

Until today.

Here’s the official statement of the Finnish Ministry of Defense:

A possible violation of Finnish airspace by a Russian SU-27 fighter has been detected in the Gulf of Finland south of Porvoo on Thursday October 6th at about 16.43 pm.

The suspected violation of Finnish airspace continued approximately one minute, and sided Finnish airspace for about 13 kilometers at a maximum of about one kilometer depth.

The Air Force conducted an identification flight.

The Finnish Border Guard will investigate the matter.

The “possible violation” must have been determined by means of primary radar returns and probably occurred before the Su-27 was intercepted by the Finnish F/A-18 Hornets.

Although close encounters with “Ivan” are nothing special, a real airspace violation is something much more rare (and interesting.)

Image credit: Finnish Ministry of Defense.

Four A-10 tankbusters have landed on a highway (in Estonia): it’s the first time since 1984!

A-10 Thunderbolt II practiced Cold War-style landing on a highway during Ex. Saber Strike 2016.

For the first time in 32 years, four A-10 Warthogs, belonging to the 127th Wing, Michigan National Guard, performed highway landing practice: it occurred in Estonia, as part of Saber Strike 16 exercise, on Jun. 20.

Saber Strike is a long-standing U.S. Army Europe-led cooperative training exercise designed to improve joint interoperability through a range of missions that prepare the 14 participating nations to support multinational contingency operations.

A-10 land Estonia 2

After WWII and through the Cold War some countries developed the concept of highway strips to get rid off one of the basic drawbacks of combat plane – runway dependency – in case of nuclear war. Airstrips and their coordinates were not secret, neither in the West nor in Soviet Russia. Obviously they would be destroyed in the beginning of any conflict.

Designed in the 1920s and 30s, the German Autobahn had sections that could be used as runways by tactical jets as well as military cargo planes: for instance, the A-29 between Ahlhorn and Groβenkneten is one example of highway where, during the Cold War, NATO planners built a road to accommodate NATO aircraft if a war with the Soviets broke out.

In that period, even Warsaw Pact countries had several highway strips: Poland had as many as 21 DOLs, Drogowy Odcinek Lotniskowy, which is a Polish name for highway strips: improvised runways made of hightway section with wider ends to provide parking spaces for the planes.

One of these is still located near Stettin (Szczecin) on the Voyvodeship Road 142 near the S3 State Road on the German-planned highway towards Kaliningrad. This highway was built in the 1930s by Adolf Hitler and was a part of the Reichsautobahn network which emerged before the WWII; the remaining ones are mostly out of use.

Highway landings were part of the standard training conducted mainly in Central, Eastern and Northern Europe during the Cold War. With the collapse of the Warsaw Pact, highway take-offs and landings became less frequent.

However, with the renewed Russian threat, training for operations from dispersed places, including public roads, has gradually resumed and involves Finnish and Swedish planes and after more than 30 years, even the U.S. A-10 tankbusters, frequent visitors of Russia’s backyard lately.

Image credit: U.S. Air Force





Photos show Finnish Air Force Hornets refueling from U.S. KC-135 during training exercise underway in Finland

Finnish Air Force F/A-18s as seen from the tanker aircraft.

The images in this post were taken during aerial refueling training exercise underway from Apr. 4 to Apr. 8 in Finland.

Finnish Air Force single and two-seater F/A-18s are practicing AAR (Air-to-Air Refueling) with the help of the 100th ARW (Air Refueling Wing) from RAF Mildenhall, that deployed a KC-135 tanker to Rovaniemi airbase (where it found a pretty cold temperature as the image below proves…).

KC-135 deincing

The drills, carried out in daylight conditions from 8AM to 4PM local time, aim to train Finnish Hornet pilots refuel mid-air by a tanker using the hose-and-drogue refueling system. A second such exercise is scheduled in September.

Finnish Hornets refuel from US KC-135

Finnish Hornets refuel from US KC-135 2

Image credit: Finnish Air Force