Swedish fighter pilots could soon be trained in Finland
According to the Finnish Air Force, cooperation in military training is being discussed with an open mind
In the future, Sweden’s new JAS 39 Gripen fighter pilots may be flying above Ostrobothnia.
The Air Forces of Finland and Sweden are studying a venture to set up joint training for the fighter pilots of the two countries.
The reason for the plan is the fact that the Vinka propeller craft used in Finland for basic training and Sweden’s Saab 105 trainers will both become obsolete around the same time, between 2017 and 2020.
”It is my own stand as well as that of Swedish Air Force Inspector Anders Silwer that we will consider this with an open mind”, says Jarmo Lindberg, the Commander of the Finnish Air Force.
”But as Silwer has said, we do not want to enter into a forced alliance with each other. We both will have to become convinced that this is a useful step before we want to take it”, Lindberg notes.
According to Lindberg, the project is not official, even though the staffs of both Air Forces have been conducting tentative surveys of the matter already for more than a year.
Moreover, the project has nothing to do with ongoing cost-cutting measures, nor with any reforms of defence forces.
For example timetables as well as the numbers of trainees and contents of training have all been under scrutiny.
”Our cooperation could be for example joint acquisitions of aircraft. It could also include common training centres, but then we should see who would be located in each place and how it all could be fitted with training programmes and training of officers”, Lindberg continues.
The underlying factor behind the increased military cooperation between Finland and Sweden is the fact that the Advanced European Jet Pilot Training (AEJPT) scheme has got into trouble.
Hence the focus has been transferred on joint training between two or three countries.
There are certain differences between the training of Finnish fighter pilots and that of Swedish pilots.
Swedish pilot trainees start flying the light jet trainer, the Saab 105, immediately after they have passed the psychophysical tests.
In Finland, beginner pilots start out with Vinka propeller aircraft before moving on to Hawk jet trainers.
”One of the topics has been whether Sweden would be interested in Hawk training”, says Operations Manager Ossi Sivén of the Finnish Air Force.
In 2007, Finland purchased 18 slightly used Hawks from the Swiss Air Force.
The training with them will start at the Training Air Wing, the Finnish Air Force pilot training school, in Kauhava in Southern Ostrobothnia in a few months.
The Finnish Air Force is getting rid of 41 of the 67 two-seat Hawks in its arsenal.
From 2015 onwards, Finland will will hold on to 26 of the current stock of Hawks, of which 18 will be those purchased from Switzerland while the rest are of rather earlier provenance, dating all the way back to 1980 and a package of 50 aircraft that were assembled here in Finland.
The Air Force has outsourced the Vinka pilot training to Patria.
”In a few years, we will have to replace our fleet of Vinka propeller aircraft”, Sivén says.
”We are not speaking about purchasing new aircraft, but we will buy a new pilot training system. We could choose a third-party service provider”, Sivén adds.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Finnish Air Force decommissioning 41 Hawk trainer jets (5.11.2010)
Finland and Sweden to increase military cooperation (9.6.2004)
Finland and Sweden cooperate in military surveillance of Baltic Sea (23.10.2006)
Finland and Sweden agree to set up common EU military force (5.10.2004)
Finnish Air Force
Advanced European Jet Pilot Training (AEJPT)