The UK Royal Air Force and Finnish Air Force will hold a joint exercise in Rissala, Finland today. The exercise
The UK Royal Air Force and Finnish Air Force will hold a joint exercise in Rissala, Finland today.
The exercise coincides with the beginning of a NATO summit being held in Madrid. The UK has been an important backer of Finnish security during the transition period to NATO membership— guaranteeing Finland military support through a security pact in order to deter Russian military retaliation. Other European NATO states including Germany also promised protection to Finland and Sweden during the transition period. While Turkish opposition to the Finnish and Swedish bids is ongoing and will lengthen the ascension process, the two states and NATO are furthering cooperation and likely will increasingly act as a cohesive unit in the form of joint exercises and weapons technology sharing.
A fully NATO-integrated Finland will bring the organization several benefits due to the condition of its military. The country has proportionally high defense expenditure levels at 1.9% of GDP in 2022—expected to reach 2.2% in 2023—as well as an outsized potential of 280,000 reservists out of a population of only 5.5 million people. Additionally, surveys indicate that 83% of the population are willing to defend their country, the highest level since 1960.
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