The commander of the Danish air force says the combined Nordic fleet is comparable to “a great European country”.
Air force commanders from Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark have said they have signed a letter of intent to create a unified Nordic air defense aimed at countering the rising threat from Russia.
The intention is to be able to operate jointly, on the basis of already known ways of operating under NATO, according to statements by the armed forces of the four countries on Friday.
The movement to integrate the air force was triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February last year, the commander of the Danish air force, Major General Jan Dam, told Reuters.
“Our combined fleet can be compared to a large European country,” says Dam.
Norway has 57 F-16 fighter jets and 37 F-35 fighter jets of which 15 are still on order. Finland has 62 F/A-18 Hornet jets and 64 F-35s on order, while Denmark has 58 F-16s and 27 F-35s on order. Sweden has more than 90 Gripen jets.
It was unclear how many of those aircraft were operational.
The signing last week at Ramstein Air Base in Germany was attended by NATO Air Force Chief General James Hecker, who also oversees US air forces in the region.
Sweden and Finland applied to join the transatlantic military alliance last year. But the process is being held back by Turkey, which has yet to ratify the memberships along with Hungary.
The Nordic Air Force commanders first discussed the closer cooperation at a November meeting in Sweden.
“We’d like to see if we can integrate our airspace surveillance more so that we can take radar data from each other’s surveillance systems and use it collectively,” Dam said. “We’re not doing that today.”