Finnish F/A-18 Hornets join... - Istanbul Airport Meet and Assist

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Seven Finnish Air Force F/A-18 Hornet fighter jets landed at Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base near Constanta on June 3, 2024, marking Finland’s first deployment under NATO’s Air Shielding mission.

Over the next two months, these jets will conduct training and operational sorties along the eastern flank of the Black Sea coast.

“For two months, the Finnish jets are joining a Royal Air Force Typhoon detachment and will be doing quick-reaction alert duty and flying alongside them and Romanian F-16s collectively securing NATO airspace and assuring the Romanian population,” said Lieutenant Colonel Rami Lindström, the first commander of the Finnish detachment at Mihail Kogalniceanu.

The detachment of seven F/A-18 Hornet jets supported by fewer than 100 airmen, aims to further develop the Finnish Air Force’s capability to operate from Allied air bases.

NATO’s Air Shielding mission began in the summer of 2022 following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This initiative was launched in response to increased security concerns and threats to bolster the alliance’s air and missile defense capabilities along its eastern flank.

Integrating Finland and Sweden into NATO air missions

The nations of Finland and Sweden both applied for expedited NATO membership after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Finland officially joined the alliance on April 4, 2023, while Sweden’s accession took place on March 7, 2024.

“Finnish and Swedish air forces have trained and deployed alongside NATO air forces for many years,” a NATO official told AeroTime in an emailed statement. “Finland and Sweden have considerable military capabilities, including advanced fighter aircraft which are fully interoperable with NATO.”

Swedish JAS-39 Gripen fighters carried out their inaugural NATO interception on March 11, 2024, marking the first such event since Sweden’s integration as a full member of the alliance.

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Swedish JAS-39 Gripen fighters conduct first interception as NATO fighters

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