Defense News
March 24, 2023

Nordic countries move toward linking their air forces: 250 planes

The Nordic countries have moved to deepen air force cooperation to bolster the region’s air defenses. The initiative, covered by a Joint Declaration of Intent (JDI), takes place against the backdrop of persisting security tensions…impacting the High North and Baltic Sea neighborhoods.

The first of its kind between the Nordic states, the JDI was signed March 16 at Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany by the commanders of the Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish and Danish air forces.

The concept of a joint Nordic air force, comprising over 250 modern front-line combat aircraft, has been the subject of periodic discussions between Nordic governments since the mid-1990s. Sweden’s and Finland’s unaligned status remained an impediment to advancing talks and joint initiatives.

With Finland and Sweden primed to join NATO, however, Nordic governments find themselves on more solid ground to discuss a common action plan to create a “mini NATO” that would deliver a formidable and unified air force capability.


Maj. Gen. Rolf Folland, the chief of the Norwegian Air Force (NAF), views the idea as a basis for creating a joint Nordic center for air operations that could also house the United States and Canada under a single command structure.

“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…With a total of almost 250 modern combat aircraft, this will be a large combat force that must be coordinated,” Folland said.