A review of the human and material military resources of that Nordic country

The numbers of land, air and naval resources that Finland incorporates into NATO

As of today, NATO has a new member country: Finland. A Nordic country that comes to incorporate a considerable force into the Alliance.

The formidable video of the Finnish Armed Forces in which they boast of allies
"Minä puolustan tätä maata!" Finland shows its artillery systems after the Russian threats

The bad historical relations between Russia and Finland

The question that must be asked now is: what is the country that joins NATO like and what military forces does it contribute? Regarding its history, we have already seen here the wars that Finland had with Bolshevik Russia in the 20th century. Despite the Soviet efforts, Finland has been a democratic country in all its years of history since its independence from Russia in 1917. Added to the historical reasons it already had for distrusting its Russian neighbor the threats of "serious military consequences" launched by Russia on February 25, 2022, the day after the start of the invasion of Ukraine, if the Nordic country joined NATO.

This is the population of Finland

According to official statistics of Finland, the country has a population 5,564,000 inhabitants (data from December 31, 2022). The majority of the Finnish population is Christian: 65.2% belong to the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, with a minority of Greek Orthodox (1.1%). The vast majority of the population (4.7 million) speak Finnish, there are 281,000 Swedish speakers (mainly in the south of the country) and a small Sami-speaking community in Lapland (almost 2,000 speakers).

Foreigners make up 9.2% of the Finnish population, with significant minorities of some 93,000 Russian-speaking, 50,000 Estonians, 39,000 Arabs, some 24,000 Somalis and 18,000 Persians, among others. The country's cold climate and the difficulty of learning Finnish are two significant barriers to immigration.

Most of the population resides in the southwest of the country, which has a less cold climate. It is there where the capital, Helsinki, which has 665,558 inhabitants, is located. Historically and culturally, Finland has many ties to Estonia. In fact, Finnish and Estonian belong to the same Balto-Finnish language group within the Finno-Ugric languages.

The important strategic situation of Finland

Finland has a very important strategic situation, since the Gulf of Finland gives access to the Baltic Sea to the Russian city of Saint Petersburg. Right now that access to the sea is controlled on both sides by NATO member countries: Finland to the north and Estonia to the south. In Kronshtadt, west of Saint Petersburg, is the Leningrad Naval Base of the Russian Baltic Sea Fleet, which houses several submarines, submarines and minesweepers.

Finnish Army soldiers during a military parade in Helsinki.

The human resources of the Finnish Armed Forces

In Finland there is compulsory military service for adult men only. Women also have the possibility to enlist as volunteers . According to Global Fire Power (data 2023), the population of military age is almost 2.3 million people.

The report The Military Balance 2022 from the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) indicates that the Finnish Armed Forces (Puolustusvoimat in Finnish and Puolustusvoimat in Swedish) maintain active personnel of 19,250 soldiers (13,400 in the Army, 3,150 in the Navy, 2,700 in the Air Force and 2,700 in the Border Guard) and a reserve force of 238,000 soldiers (185,000 Army, 24,000 Navy, 29,000 Air Force and 12,000 Border Guard).

Reservists have a commitment up to age 60, generally assigned to units within their geographic area. In total, the country maintains a mobilization force of 285,000 soldiers. The Finnish Army is historically known for its great knowledge of its environment and its great adaptation to the harsh winter environment of the country, as demonstrated in the Winter War (1939-1940).

A Finnish Army M-270 MLRS missile launcher.

The Finnish Army

Regarding the material means of the Finnish Armed Forces, the Army has the following vehicles and ground systems:

  • 100 Leopard 2A6 tanks in service.
  • 94 Leopard 2A4 tanks in storage (discounting those delivered to Ukraine).
  • 110 BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicles, of Soviet origin.
  • 102 CV 9030FIN infantry fighting vehicles.
  • 613 armored personnel carriers of various types.
  • 74 engineering and maintenance vehicles of various types.
  • 672 artillery systems (49 self-propelled, 288 towed, 56 missile launchers and 279 mortars).
  • 60 surface-to-air missile launchers (20 Crotale NG, 24 NASAMS II FIN and 16 ASRAD), in addition to portable missiles FIM-92 Stinger and RBS-70.
  • 407 anti-aircraft guns of various types.

In addition, the Finnish Army has the following air assets:

  • 7 light helicopters Hughes 500.
  • 20 medium helicopters NH90 TTH.
  • 11 UAV ADS-95 Ranger.
A Rauma-class patrol vessel of the Finnish Navy.

The Finnish Navy

As for the Finnish Navy, it has 84 surface units, without any submarines. It is a brown water navy focused on defending its coastline. Has 20 patrol vessels:

  • 4 Hamina-class missile-launching patrol vessels, 51 meters long.
  • 4 Rauma-class missile-launching patrol vessels, 48.5 meters long.
  • 12 Jehu-class boats, 19.9 meters long.

In addition, it has 3 Katanpää-class minesweepers, (52.5 meters in length), 2 Hameenmaa-class minelayers (77.8 meters in length), >3 Pansio class minelayers (43 meters long) and 51 landing craft (1 Kampela class and 50 LCP). In addition, there are 7 logistics and support ships. To these units already in operation we must add 4 Pohjanmaa class corvettes whose delivery is expected by the end of this decade.

Two F/A-18C fighters and one F/A-18D Hornet two-seater of the Finnish Air Force.

The Finnish Air Force

As for the Finnish Air Force, it has 145 fixed-wing manned aircraft (it does not have helicopters or UAVs). They are the following:

  • 62 F/A-18 Hornet fighter-bombers (55 F/A-18C single-seaters and 7 F/A-18D two-seaters), divided into two squadrons.
  • 45 BAE Hawk advanced trainer aircraft (29 Mk50/51A and 17 Mk66).
  • 26 Valmet L-70 Vinka basic trainer aircraft.
  • 1 electronic warfare aircraft (ELINT) C-295M.
  • 2 C-295M tactical transport aircraft.
  • 3 Learjet 35A transport aircraft, capable of being equipped with electronic countermeasures (ECM) systems.
  • 6 Pilatus PC12NG transport aircraft.

Additionally, Finland has purchased 64 F-35A stealth fighters, whose first deliveries will be made in 2026, with the entire fleet being operational in 2030.

A Dornier 228 maritime patrol aircraft of the Finnish Border Guard.

The Finnish Border Guard

Finally, the Border Guard has the following aircraft:

  • 2 Dornier 228 maritime patrol aircraft.
  • 4 AgustaWestland AW119KE Koala transport helicopters.
  • 4 Bell 412 transport helicopters.
  • 5 AS332 Super Puma transport helicopters.

Likewise, the Border Guard has the following vessels:

  • 3 patrol vessels (1 Turva class and 2 Tursas class).
  • 43 patrol boats (Watercat 1300 and RV90 type).
  • 6 Griffon 2000TD hovercraft.


Photos: Puolustusvoimat.

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