There are great differences between Baltic, Nordic Poland, or BNP9, countries. Baltic countries Estonia Lithuania and Latvia ha too little manpower and too small economies to have really 1st rate national defense, and they thus need NATO to bolster them up. On the same time they are too close for comfort to Russia, and without vast tracts of land to wage efficient maneuver warfare. Poland has manpower and hefty martial tradition to pull from, but are not yet financially in position to be the powerhouse of eastern NATO countries it is destined to be. Swedes and Norvegian decided to drive their national defenses to the ground in 1990’ies when it seemed possible to fund all the pet projects from “monees” that didn’t go to upkeep of national defense any more.
Swedes, Norwegians and Estonians (along with other Balts) view the Finns mostly as retarded cousins in best of times, but now that “History’s end” and “eternal peace” proved to be hoaxes they are now looking toward Finland to fill their security deficiency. Finnish Broadcasting corporation YLE wrote a piece about Norway’s fears of escalating conflicts in upper North. (Same in VIDEO) Another Finnish web media picked up the ball, and wrote THIS about the same topic.
So when in 1990’ies Soviet Unions Evil Empire collapsed there was significant Reduction In Force in “old” NATO countries. for example Belgian air force has gone from 260 fighters into 50. Sweden changed conscription laws and tried to go professional with disappointing results. Finland didn’t follow suit. Finland armed up by getting surplus from former East Germany and Nederlands. Finland reduced reserves too from 700 000 to 250 000, so we are not entirely without fault in this.
So are Norway, Estonia Latvia and Lithuania and by extension NATO wishing for Finns to pick the chestnuts out of the fire for them? To some extent yes. So in the other hand would Finland benefit from participation in NATO and would there be benefits for taking active part in NBP9 defence planning? Definately. In hard situations Finns would not be there alone, Swedish and Norwegians would provide depth into defense. Swedish Navy and Finnish navy could operate very effectively in Baltic sea with Polish and Baltic three forces. This planning on the other hand does not really take into consideration the geography of the region:
Norway is maybe looking more of a backstop against blackmail and co-operation than real defense assets from Sweden and Finland: Their war with Russia will be on sea and in air. Danes will most likely help Norwegians in north, but Sweden is more of a Baltic power than North Sea power. Danish Air force is also not insignificant, but would it fly north to east to help her allies is a question. Sweden, sitting in the middle, could be seen as helping out all around: Land forces and Air force to east, air force to north and Navy helping to deal with Kaliningrad and Baltic Fleet of Russia.
Baltic sea would indeed become BNP9 inner sea that would allow transport from country to country fast and in great force. BUT there will be a long border, without natural barriers I might add all the way from Arctic ocean to Ukraine. This kind of planning become feasible only if Danes and Norwegians are ready to shift their ground forces into Eastern regions of the area. Finland would need help too, but could maybe benefit more from additional Airforce than, maybe, from additional ground forces, but would still be having hard fight along southern coast. In fact this years main exercise of the FDF is just against this kind of eventuality. (Unfortunately in Finnish)
Also sea lift capabilities of Nordic countries are quite limited, so forces would need to be stationed in Baltics. but however you look at this in the end “big boys of the block” Britain and USA would have to be in situ for favorable outcome in long run. I have no reseervations about Baltics will to fight, but limits in manpower and air force would mean inevitable loss in a fight without allies. Thus I would IMHO cousel Baltic countries to set up their joint air force. Estonian island of Saaremaa would be in rather central position in south of Estonia. Also as an Island, it is not in immediate danger of being overrun by Russian armor from east. There is also room to have a size able air force base there. As finland is now evaluating the new fighters to replace the Hornet fleet, it would benefit both Finns and Balts to get fighters from the same bid. You could sort of see a Baltic wing, with three squadrons of (so every state would get one 12 plane squadron with common support organization.) With higher level maintenance organized with Finland (or possibly with Sweden) with common weapon packages and common training as part of Nordic co-operation, and possibly with Poland if they want to join in.
well, just a thought.
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