Common Nordic Airspace Initiative

General Sverker Göranson, Supreme Commander of the Swedish Armed Forces, has muted the idea of developing a common Nordic airspace with Finland and Norway. Speaking at a conference in Sälen, southern Sweden on 15th January, General Göranson suggested that such an initiative could be one way of keeping air defence costs low, by pooling air policing duties between all three nations. He also suggested that Denmark could join the initiative, to further widen the air defence coverage. A common Nordic air space could, potentially, have benefits for the participating nations. The militaries of Norway, Finland, Sweden and Denmark already enjoy a high degree of cooperation, and regularly train together. Moreover, all these nations do have existential air defence threats, not least in the form of occasional sorties close to their airspace by Russian air force aircraft. Nonetheless, developing a potential common Nordic air defence district could bring some challenges. Norway and Denmark are both NATO members, while Finland and Sweden are nominally neutral; although both are members of NATO’s Partnership for Peace initiative. Protocols for the sharing of air defence information, and intercepting targets, would need to be standardised. Moreover, technical challenges in ensuring that datalinks and communications could operate between all of these nations vis-à-vis the transfer of written and voice traffic would need to be overcome. A mechanism would also possibly need to be developed to enable all of the participating nations to see the same Recognised Air Picture. That said, expense incurred during the development of the common Nordic air defence initiative could be recouped later on in terms of personnel and equipment savings.

Published by Thomas Withington

Thomas Withington is a writer and analyst specialising in electronic warfare, radar and military communications.

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