Oct 10, 2014
Finland boosts aircraft readiness following Russian incursions
Air-to-air combat drills are to take place from Rovaniemi, Oulu, Kuopio-Rissala, and Pudasjärvi air force bases in the north, while surveillance sorties are concentrating in the south.
Operational reforms have enabled an increase of 20% more annual training flights. The Finns are now conducting three sorties daily with between 6 and 10 aircraft, rather than its usual 4 to 8 aircraft.
The drills are to include a high proportion of night flying, as well as refuelling over the Baltic Sea, over which airspace violations have been recently mounting.
In August there were three airspace incursions by Russian aircraft, after which the Finnish government publicly confirmed the violations, having previously pursued a more low-key approach.
In September Finnish Boeing F/A-18 Hornet fighter-interceptor jets were scrambled without incursion confirmation; concurrently, however, a multi-aircraft Russian reconnaissance incursion was confirmed by Latvian armed forces.