Breaking Defense
July 8, 2022

Norwegian air chief wants ‘Nordic Air Operations Center’ if Sweden, Finland join NATO
“I think [a Nordic air operations center] would be a benefit for us, and it can be a benefit for NATO,” said Maj. Gen. Rolf Folland, chief of the Royal Norwegian Air Force.

Norway’s top air force officer wants NATO to consider greenlighting a new “Nordic air operations center” to control air missions in the region, should Sweden and Finland ultimately be approved as new members of the transatlantic alliance.

Maj. Gen. Rolf Folland, chief of the Royal Norwegian Air Force, told Breaking Defense that he has already begun thinking about opportunities for better integration with Sweden and Finland’s air forces, with the air operations center the one he plans to “explore with my foreign colleagues the most.”

Adding Sweden and Finland air force’s to NATO more than doubles the number of fourth- and fifth-generation fighters currently planned to be fielded by the Nordic members of NATO. Last year, Finland announced plans to buy 64 F-35s to replace its aging Hornet fleet, and Sweden is in the process of a buying at least 60 Gripen E/Fs.

Meanwhile, of the Nordic countries currently with NATO membership, Norway plans to field a fighter force of 52 F-35s by 2025, and Denmark is replacing its F-16s with 27 F-35s. (Iceland, which does not have an air force, receives air policing support from NATO members.)