The Finnish Air Force trained identification procedures above the Baltic Sea on 14 January. As a part of the training event, Finnish F/A-18 Hornet multi-role fighters were scrambled to identify and photograph a Belgian Air Force Airbus A321.
The Finnish Air Force participated in the training event, coordinated by the Allied Air Command (AIRCOM), as a partner nation. A Belgian Air Force Airbus A321 from Melsbroek Air Base played the role of an unidentified aircraft. Fighters from several European nations’ air forces were scrambled to identify the A321 as it flew across the North Sea and the Baltic Sea.
“The Finnish Air Force independently monitors and secures the territorial integrity of Finnish airspace. For its part, our readiness contributes to stability and security in the Baltic Sea region. As far as flight safety is concerned, we coordinate our activity with partners. For instance, we have participated in NATO member and partner nations’ Ramstein Alloy exercise series since 2008,” says Colonel Juha-Pekka Keränen.
As a territorial surveillance authority, the Air Force monitors and secures Finland’s territorial integrity. If an aircraft approaching Finnish airspace cannot be identified by flight plan correlation using data from civilian air traffic control agencies or by other available information, the Air Operations Center may scramble a fighter on Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) duty to identify the target.