Finland steps up air defense following airspace incursions by Russian planes

Even though on average there are about about four to six incidents a year Russian planes have entered the Finnish airspace without permission three times in the last week.

Finnish Air Force is stepping up readiness of its air defense assets following three incidents in a week during which Russian planes entered Finland’s airspace without authorization.

According to the Finnish media outlet Yle.fi, the latest such incursions occurred on Aug. 28, when a Russian An-72 transport plane entered the Finnish airspace over the Gulf of Finland and flew within Helsinki’s FIR for about four minutes.

An-72 FinnAF

Image credit: Finnish Air Force

Even though the aircraft did not penetrate deep into Finland’s territory, the frequency of such violations (the others were recorded on Aug. 23 and 29) raised concern among Finnish authorities, to such an extent Finnish Air Force F/A-18 Hornets have been moved to support bases in the south from where they are flying surveillance flights.

One of the Hornet bases closer to the 1,300-kilometer border with Russia is Kuopio/Rissala, even though the Air Force spokesperson said that standby aircraft have been based at Seutula and Vantaa, Yle.fi reported.

Furthermore, Finnish Hornets are trained to operate from public roads, a type of operations that has been part of the standard training conducted mainly in Central, Eastern and Northern Europe since the Cold War.

Top image credit: U.S. Air Force in Europe

H/T to Antti Hietaniemi for the heads-up

About David Cenciotti 4452 Articles
David Cenciotti is a freelance journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written four books.

2 Comments

  1. My first thought were put those Hornets on the tail of one of these planes and issue a “land in Finland or be shot down” command. Then take forever and a day to let the plane return home. Plead paperwork and bureaucracies.

    On reflection, I suspect a different approach might work better. Quite a few Finns speak Russian. Start a Radio Free Russia on the border and expose corruption in the country. I’d love to see some comedy that ridicules Putin’s pretensions at greatness (that little guy who can’t afford a shirt), perpetually drunk Russian men, and the tackiness of Russian billionaires like this one who recently visited Seattle:

    http://www.seattlepi.com/default/article/Mega-yacht-arrives-in-Elliott-By-5722118.php

    As G. K. Chesterton pointed out, those who try to intimidate us are best deterred with humor. Laughter and fear can’t exist at the same time in our psyche. Choose the first and the second disappears.

    I know. Climbing on a mountain glacier, I once found myself in an extremely frustrating situation that could have turned dangerous. I chose to laugh at the absurdity of it all. That helped. Nothing I could do would make the problem go away.

    In short, don’t get angry. Get even and have fun doing it.

    –Michael W. Perry, Chesterton on War and Peace.

    • Most of the Finns who speak Russian were born in Russia and in many cases still have a Russian passport. The “real” Finns who speak Russian are really only those working on selling goods and services to Russia and there aren’t that many of those.

      Radio Free Russia is anyway a bad concept. Much better the present concept of almost daily TV news bulletins in Russian in a normal state TV channel which like the English language TV bulletins seem to use content chosen by the broadcasters themselves (which in the case of the TV broadcasts are young native Russian speakers whereas the much older-established radio broadcasts seem to have at least one Finn with poor Ruusian skills, clearly a hangover from before 1989).

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