NATO Partnership in Action: Finland Deploys Forces for Maritime and Aerial Operations
Finland is embracing its new NATO membership by actively contributing forces across air, land and sea. Just months after the Nordic nation formally joined the alliance alongside Sweden, its defense ministry has announced deployments integrating Finnish military capabilities with NATO operations in 2024.
The expansive commitment aligns with minister Antti Häkkänen’s stance that all allies must help bear the burden of collective defense and deterrence. “The participation should be seen as part of the normal operation of the alliance,” he remarked. “We take our own responsibility seriously.”
In a show of naval solidarity, Finland will send a minehunting ship with 40 crew to the Baltic Sea for two months starting in April. The vessel will join NATO’s standing mine countermeasure unit, assisting with undersea infrastructure protection and clearing leftover explosives. Air power also features prominently via an 8-jet contingent conducting air policing and joint training over Romania, Bulgaria and the Black Sea from June-July.
While not contributing ground troops this year due to geographical challenges, Finland has integrated into NATO’s massive 90,000-strong Steadfast Defender 24 wargames occurring now through June. The exercises utilize Finnish training grounds and focus on enhancing readiness to defend member states. Looking ahead, over 10,000 Finnish reservists will join 14 countries in June’s Nordic Response 24 arctic wargames orchestrated by Norway.
As the practical reality of alliance protection takes root at home, Häkkänen sees Finland’s ambitious NATO commitments directly enhancing national and Nordic security. Early tangible participation also signals unity with member states in countering Russian belligerence. By proactively embedding personnel within NATO maritime, air and land operations, Finland is wasting no time benefiting from and contributing to the formidable muscle of the now 32-nation defense pact.