BALTIC MONITOR

Date: 20 October 2019

A bigger defence budget of Finland. Modernisation of the fleet and more

The Finnish government is to increase spending on defence in 2020, even though minimally. The secured funds, however, should be sufficient to increase the intensity and the scale of training and, in particular, to modernise the army. This concerns mainly naval and air forces.

On October 7, the government of Finland announced that the approved budget for 2020 included a greater number of military posts, the establishment of a new volunteer training model and the increase in the number of military exercises in the following years. More reservists will participate in training. The total budget of the Ministry of Defence for 2020 is 3.16 billion euros, which is 20 million euros (0,6%) more than in 2019. 60 million euros were channelled to the participation in international peacekeeping missions. The biggest part of the defence budget – about 1.17 billion euros (43%) – is intended for the material needs of the army, including modernisation of arms and equipment. In the upcoming years, Finland wants to modernise the navy and aviation in particular.

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In September, the government accepted the order on four multirole corvettes. The agreement has been signed on September 26 in Turku. The cost of the contract, which includes the purchase of the combat system from the Swedish producer Saab, amounts to over 1.2 billion euros. Ships are to be built between 2021 and 2025 by a Finnish shipyard in Rauma in the Gulf of Bothnia. Pohjanmaa-type corvettes are to replace seven old vessels: minelayers and missile boats. 105-metre new units will be equipped with radars, sensors, missile and torpedo systems purchased from the Swedish. The cost of the equipment delivered by Saab only amounts to about 400 million euros. New corvettes are to start their service before 2028. According to the Commander of the Finnish Navy, Commodore Jori Harju, the purchase of new vessels has a strategic meaning for the maintenance of the army’s effectiveness in the sea and the security of Finland. Currently, about 1400 people serve in the Finnish navy.

However, it is not known yet which fighters will be bought by Finland. The provider is not chosen yet but taking into account the increasing military cooperation between neutral Finland and the United States, the Finnish may buy machines produced by the US. During the recent visit of President Sauli Niinistö in Washington, President of the USA Donald Trump during the conversation with his guest in the White House said that he wanted to sell Finland “a great number” of aircraft.

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