Nordic Countries Create ‘Mini NATO’ Pact, Linking Air Forces
A new, historically unprecedented defense pact has been signed by Scandinavian countries which is sure to evoke the anger of Moscow, at a moment NATO is on the cusp of admitting at least one of the countries (Finland) as a new member.
Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland have issued a joint declaration, stating their intent to combine their air defenses, to the point of their respective air forces joining into a single fighting unit.
What’s being called the countries’ Joint Declaration of Intent (JDI) was signed at Ramstein Air Force Base in the middle of this month, but was only revealed in recent days.
The commander of the Danish Air Force, Gen. Jan Dam, in announcing the initiative said that “Our combined fleet can be compared to a large European country.”
Given that in principle this means each of among the four countries will be involved in defending all in the event of an attack from a common enemy, DefenceNews.com likened the move to the establishment of a “mini NATO”.
While the JDI agreement didn’t mention Russia by name, the whole initiative is clearly part of the ongoing reaction to Russia’s February 24, 2022 invasion of Ukraine.
#Nordic air chiefs sign the first Nordic Air Commanders’ Intent, which is the foundation for a unified Nordic air defence. The ultimate goal is to be able to operate together as one force. Read more (in Danish) ➡️ https://t.co/p7Qc0Uv5pX #dkforsvar #dkpol https://t.co/lO2dSMH6UO
— IPC Denmark (@IPC_DK) March 24, 2023
As for numbers of fighter aircraft which could be integrated into a broader Scandinavian force, Maj. Gen. Rolf Folland, the chief of the Norwegian Air Force (NAF), has floated a figure of nearly 250 advanced aircraft. He also suggested that a joint air operations center that could additionally feature United States and Canadian commanders providing their guidance and coordination.
“There is obvious interest in a regional initiative for a joint air command on NATO’s northern flank. We know the conditions in the High North well, and we have a lot to learn from each other. With a total of almost 250 modern combat aircraft, this will be a large combat force that must be coordinated,” Folland said.