Janesin artikkeli, olkaa hyvä: As Europe's NATO nations have been forced to adjust their defence posture in response to Moscow's increasing propensity for belligerence in recent years, non-aligned Finland is perhaps more used to dealing with its Russian neighbour, with whom it shares a 1,340 km border. Having fought two wars against the Soviet Union during the Second World War, Finland's military posture is inevitably geared towards defending against attack from the east. Being an EU member but retaining its military non-aligned status, Finland has since 1994 been part of NATO's Partnership for Peace programme and has always been active in international peacekeeping efforts, often alongside NATO forces. Meanwhile, as NATO's newer members in Eastern Europe - and the Baltic region in particular - have grown increasingly nervous with regard to Moscow's intentions of late, Finland has found itself working more and more in parallel with the alliance. On 9 November 2016, on the occasion of Sauli Niinistö making the first ever visit by a Finnish president to NATO headquarters in Brussels, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg cited Finland as "one of NATO's closest partners" and added that Finland and the alliance "have been able to develop a very close partnership on a range of different issues, including planning for civil emergencies, and security in the Baltic Sea region". He continued, seemingly with Russia in mind: "We are now expanding our co-operation when it comes to information exchanges on hybrid warfare, co-ordinating exercises, and developing joint situational awareness." Theoretically it might seem that a country as small as Finland, with a population just under 5.5 million, would struggle to develop an effective defensive strategy to counter Russia's military might. In the 1940s, however, the Soviet Union was made to pay dearly for the Finnish territory it advanced into and Finland's current military posture is very much about ensuring that would remain the case today. It is very much down to its experiences in the Second World War that Finland's military model today is one of the few worldwide where conscription actually works, for it is accepted by all Finns that society as a whole is responsible for the nation's defence. As Lieutenant General Seppo Toivonen, commander of the Finnish Army, explained to Jane's during a visit to the Finnish Defence Forces (FDF) at the end of last year: "In the 1960s, as with countries like Sweden, we created the total defence model, where all parts of society are responsible to prepare themselves for crisis, and we have kept that model and improved it. "Our training times are quite short: leaders [at] less than a year; basic soldiers [at] five-and-a-half months. So Finland's very good school system is the backbone of Finland's defence capability. The FDF has a close connection to society." Conscription, the general explained, also brings the FDF, especially the army, the large reserves forces that it needs in order to make its defence model viable. 1639765 Finland ordered 20 NH90 TTHs in 2001, but because of delays to the programme a large number of these were delivered in a pre-production configuration. These aircraft are now being retrofitted to full operational capability standard, with redeliveries running until 2018. (Airbus Helicopters) Regarding the latter Lt Gen Toivonen noted: "That is a very good combination, especially now we are developing a kind of special operations task group. Of course the NH90s have task they provide the army and other services, but there is a new integration between the special forces and helicopters." [paste:font size="5"]Back to top Although Finland produces a number of its own weapon systems - from the 7.62 RK 62 and 7.62 RK 95 TP local variants of the Soviet AK-47/AKM assault rifle to the Patria 155 mm K 83-97 and K98 towed howitzers - in the past it has relied substantially on a number of older Soviet-designed artillery systems, some of which have already been retired. In terms of self-propelled howitzers (SPHs), for example, Finland's Soviet-built 152 mm 2S5 Giatsint-S systems have already been taken out of service, leaving around 72 Soviet 122 mm 2S1 Gvozdika systems. For the FDF, however, heavy gun and rocket artillery systems are vital to the national defence strategy, since they allow an invading enemy force to be degraded by indirect fire before they actually make direct contact with the defending Finnish forces. Retaining the army's heavy artillery capabilities has, therefore, been a key modernisation requirement. Yet while the cost of acquiring such systems could easily an expensive process, the Finnish Ministry of Defence has displayed a very pragmatic approach to meeting its requirements within a relatively modest budget with a strategy that involves keeping a keen eye out for relevant equipment that becomes surplus to other armies' requirements. 1693003 A Finnish MLRS unit opens fire during manoeuvres in the FDF's Rovajärvi exercise area in November 2016. Finland's MLRSs are among the most sophisticated such systems deployed worldwide. (IHS Markit/Peter Felstead) A key example of this came in 2004 when, rather than procuring new systems off the shelf, the FDF bought the Royal Netherlands Army's entire fleet of 22 227 mm M270 Multiple Launch Rockets Systems (MLRSs) second hand, along with pods of Phase I unguided rockets, to attain a system with longer range than the FDF's older 122 mm RM-70 (Rak H 89) multiple rocket launchers. Germany then provided Finland with Phase II MLRS rockets containing anti-tank mines as well as training rockets. Subsequently, in May 2011, original M270 manufacturer Lockheed Martin was awarded a USD45.3 million contract to upgrade the Finnish MLRSs to the M270D1 standard, allowing them to fire 70 km range Guided MLRS rounds as well as well as Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) rounds, which provide a precision effect out to 165 km. The company provided kits to enable Finland's M270 launchers to be upgraded in country under a technical assistance agreement with Millog. With the exception of the US High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS)-variant MLRS system, the Finnish MLRS units are among the most sophisticated such weapons in use worldwide. 1693004 Finnish troops on a live-ammo exercise in the FDF's expansive Rovajärvi exercise area in November 2016. (IHS Markit/Peter Felstead) Then, in mid-2012, it was stated that Finland had made a formal request to the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency for the acquisition of 70 ATACMS Block 1A unitary missiles at a total value of USD132 million, including associated parts, equipment, logistics and training. Finland is procuring 40 MLRS missile pods for its M270s. Of these 15 will be armed with the M31A1 Unitary Missile (90 missiles in total) and 25 with the M30A1 Alternative Warhead Missile (150 in total). It is not known whether these missiles have been delivered yet. News of another cost-effective Finnish artillery acquisition came on 17 February when the Finnish MoD confirmed it would buy 48 former South Korean Army K9 Thunder 155 mm self-propelled howitzers for EUR146 million (USD155 million): a deal that includes training, spares, and maintenance, as well as including options for the procurement of additional K9s. Deliveries of the K9s are due to begin this year and be completed by 2024, with Finnish conscripts due to begin training on the K9s in 2019. 1693005 A Hanwa Techwin K9 Thunder 155 mm self-propelled howitzer undergoing trials in Finland in November 2016. The FDF is buying 48 former South Korean Army K9s at a cost of EUR146 million, the country's MoD confirmed on 17 February. (IHS Markit/Peter Felstead) Speaking to Jane's on 20 February, an FDF source said the K9 was already compatible with all the FDF's existing 155 mm ammunition types, including its conventional LU111 high-explosive ammunition and its Nexter/BAE Systems Bonus Mk II top attack projectiles. Finland is also currently in discussions with Nammo to buy new extended-range 155 mm high-explosive rounds, according to the same source. The K9s will replace Finland's Soviet-designed 2S1 SPHs, which date from the early 1970s and, as Colonel Pasi Pasivirta, the army's inspector of artillery, described them to Jane's , are "practically a towed gun in a tank" because they lack a sophisticated fire-control system and so "you have to do all the same preparation when you fire it as you would do with a towed gun". This severely limits the 2S1's ability to relocate to different firing positions - the 'shoot-and-scoot' tactics required to evade enemy counter-battery fire - and means the K9s, which can fire 360° and have a range of 40 km, will introduce a step change in capability over the old 1970s technology they will replace. Col Pasivirta calculated that eight K9s can achieve the same firepower effect as 18 towed guns. Regarding the Finnish Army's shrewd second-hand buys, Lt Gen Toivonen explained that "even before the crisis in Crimea and eastern Ukraine, we were buying surplus materiel", noting that the latest such acquisition involves 100 second-hand Leopard 2A6 MBTs, also from the Netherlands. The delivery of these started in 2015 and is expected to conclude in 2019, the acquisition having been deemed a more cost-effective upgrading of the Finnish Army's MBT fleet than paying for the modernisation of its originally 124-strong force of Leopard 2A4s, which were originally built in the 1980s and acquired as surplus from the German Army in 2003 and 2004, when they replaced Finland's Russian-built T-72M1s. Overall, Lt Gen Toivonen believes the used systems bought by the Finnish Army "have been a cost-effective way to create quite good capabilities. Some of the [second-hand systems purchased] need modernisation, but, for instance, the Leopard 2A6 is in very good condition and all we are thinking of is looking at is the next generation of ammunition, which we'd have done anyhow." 1133933 The Finnish Army's Soviet-era D-30 towed 122 mm field guns fall into the category of 'old but still useful'. Because of their novel three trail legs the D-30s can fire in any direction and thus cover a large area. They are also a relatively easy for conscripts to train on and the Finnish Army still has plenty of ammunition to fire from them. (IHS Markit/Peter Felstead) Meanwhile, the Finnish Army still continues to make use of weapon systems that Lt Gen Toivonen refers to as "old but still useful materiel", including its old Soviet-era D-30 towed 122 mm field guns. As Col Pasivirta explained to Jane's , because of its novel three trail legs the D-30 "can fire 360° and thus covers a large area, we have plenty of them and it's light and easy to use, and we have plenty of ammunition from East Germany". Col Pasivirta additionally noted that the army's older field guns - which include 130 mm M-46s and 155 mm M-83s as well as the D-30s - are still ideal for use by regional troops as long as they are widely dispersed in their battery positions to reduce the effect of any counter-battery fire. 1693035 A Finnish Army Soviet-era 130 mm M-46 field fun conducting a live-fire exercise in the FDF's Rovajärvi exercise area in November 2016. The Finnish Army's older field guns are still ideal for use by regional troops as long as they are widely dispersed in their battery positions to reduce the effect of any counter-battery fire. (IHS Markit/Peter Felstead) The army has also decided that retaining and upgrading its 110 Soviet-designed BMP-2 tracked infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) - a fleet similar in size to the army's more modern fleet of 102 BAE Systems CV9030 IFVs - is a worthwhile venture, given the increased cross-country mobility that tracked AFVs offer (the army also has around 500 Patria-built armoured personnel carriers of various types, including 62 very capable Armoured Modular Vehicles [AMVs], but all of these are wheeled). "For us [upgrading the BMP-2s] makes sense because there is still a long lifecycle left in them," said Lt Gen Toivonen, "but of course you need modernisation to keep the effectiveness on the battlefield." Looking to other weapon systems, Lt Gen Toivonen noted: "We've recognised the artillery and anti-tank weapon systems that will be obsolete, either related to their ammunition or because they are not effective enough on the modern battlefield. In some of the systems the manufacturer doesn't guarantee anymore the use of those weapons. We're trying to find how the money allocated to us will bring us new capabilities that will last into the 2030s." The Finnish Army's older infantry anti-tank systems - the APILAS and M72A5 - are being replaced over the medium term (i.e. by 2025) by the Saab Next-Generation Light Anti-tank Weapon (NLAW) and the Nammo M72 Enhanced Capacity (EC) LAW respectively, while the army's obsolescent 95 S 58-61 recoilless rifles remain in limited use. Jane's was told in November that these weapons are not being discarded yet, since there is still plenty of relatively modern ammunition for them, but that they are somewhat cumbersome and no longer considered appropriate for front-line service. Meanwhile, US TOW-2 and Israeli Spike missile systems continue to provide the Finnish Army with an effective mid-range (2.5-4 km) anti-tank capability. 1192726 The Finnish Army currently operates 18 Patria Hägglunds AMOS self-propelled twin mortar systems. The AMOS system provides a true 'shoot and scoot' capability and affords MRSI target engagement. (IHS Markit/Christopher F Foss) Regarding more modern artillery systems the Finnish Army currently operates 18 Patria Hägglunds AMOS self-propelled advanced mortar systems that entered service from 2013. Comprising twin 120 mm mortars mounted on a Patria AMV chassis, the AMOS system provides a true 'shoot and scoot' capability, affords the mortar crew protection from small arms fire and shell fragments and affords a multiple-round simultaneous impact (MRSI) target engagement capability that allows up to 10 mortar rounds to hit a target at the same time. Lt Gen Toivonen made it clear that he would like to procure more AMOS systems, but admitted that the cost of this is currently prohibitive unless the army can order more in conjunction with an export order that would bring down the unit cost. "AMOS is expensive," he noted, "but it provides an amazing capability." 1693006 A Finnish AMOS self-propelled twin mortar system attacking a target in the FDF's Rovajärvi exercise area in November 2016. (IHS Markit/Peter Felstead) The FDF's helicopter fleet, comprising 20 NHIndustries NH90s in the tactical transport helicopter (TTH) configuration and seven older MD500s, has been operated solely by the army since 1997. While the NH90s are used for transport, airmobile operations, and search-and-rescue (SAR) tasks, the MD500s are used mainly for pilot training, but also for VIP/light transport and general utility tasks. Finland first ordered its 20 NH90 TTHs in 2001, but because of considerable delays to the programme the FDF received a large number of aircraft in a pre-production configuration and did not receive the final helicopter until July 2015. Of the 20 Finnish NH90s now in service, 5 are initial operational capability (IOC) variants, 10 are IOC+ variants, and 5 are to the full operational capability (FOC) standard. The IOC and IOC+ aircraft are currently being retrofitted to FOC standard, with redelivery running until 2018. In terms of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), the Finnish Army has since 2001 operated the RUAG Ranger reconnaissance UAV, eventually buying a dozen of these systems. In recent years, however, it has procured lighter, more portable Aeronautics Orbiter 2 systems from Israel. Jane's understands that around 120 of these systems have been acquired since 2014, with Lt Gen Toivonen noting that Orbiters are now in use in every Finnish Army unit. Lt Gen Toivonen said that the army procurement of which he is personally the most proud has been the attainment of effective air defences, noting that "although they start with [Soviet-designed ZU-23-2 twin 23 mm anti-aircraft guns], they end up with NASAMS [the Norwegian Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System]". The Finnish Army selected the NASAMS II in late April 2009 to replace its Russian-built Buk-M1 (SA-11 'Gadfly') SAMs. The system entered service in 2012, with deliveries of what Jane's understands was a total of 24 firing units completed in 2014. The army is also in the process of replacing its Soviet-era Igla manportable SAMs with FIM-92C RMP Stingers bought and refurbished from ex-US Army stocks and refurbishing its Marksman anti-aircraft tanks. These systems, which feature twin 35 mm Oerlikon cannons and a Marconi Series 400 fire-control radar, are having their old Russian T-55 tank chassis replaced by Leopard 2A4 tank chassis. The first conscripts starting training with Leopard-based Marksmans in the second half of 2016. Perhaps one of the most transformational systems currently being adopted by the Finnish Army is the M18 C3 system, which incorporates the Tactical Wireless IP Network (TAC WIN) mobile, high-data-rate tactical communication network produced by Finnish communications company Bittium. As Major Tommi Sikanen, from the Finnish Army's executive office, explained, this system will take the Finnish Army "into the next decade and beyond" in terms of its C3 capabilities and provide one of the biggest changes in the army in terms of situational awareness.