Nordic countries sign joint air defense deal to counter Russia

F-35 fighter jet in flight

Air force chiefs from Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Denmark have reportedly signed a letter of intent to establish a coordinated Nordic air defense to counter the growing Russian threat.

According to remarks made on Friday by the military services of the four nations, the objective is to be able to work together based on established operational procedures under NATO.

The decision to combine the air forces was prompted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February last year, according to Major General Jan Dam, commander of the Danish air force.

“Our combined fleet can be compared to a large European country,” Dam said.

Norway currently possesses 57 F-16 fighter jets and 37 F-35 fighter jets, with an additional 15 F-35 fighter jets on order. While Denmark has 58 F-16s and 27 F-35s on order, Finland has 62 F/A-18 Hornet jets and 64 F-35s. Sweden is home to more than 90 Gripen jets.

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How many of those aircraft were active was unknown.

General James Hecker, who is in charge of both the US Air Force and NATO Air Command in the region, was present for the signing last week at the Ramstein Air Base in Germany.

The transatlantic military alliance received applications from Sweden and Finland last year. Nevertheless, Turkey, who along with Hungary has not yet ratified the memberships, has slowed down the proceedings.

The greater collaboration was initially proposed by the Nordic air force commanders in November in Sweden.

“We would like to see if we can integrate our airspace surveillance more, so we can use radar data from each other’s surveillance systems and use them collectively,” Dam said. “We are not doing that today.”