Before Finland became an independent state, military aviation in Finnish territory was conducted by the Imperial Russian Air Service. Development of Finnish military aviation was sparked by the commencement of hostilities between the Finnish Red Guards and the Whites commanded by General C.G.E. Mannerheim in January 1918, after the Russian revolution. Late in the winter of 1918, the Whites received aircraft as donations from Sweden, and it is the air troops equipped with these planes that constituted the foundation for the Finnish Air Force. The first of these aircraft to reach Finland, arriving in late February that year, was a NAB Type 9 Albatros, a reconnaissance and training plane; however, its ferry flight to Vaasa was cut short at Pietarsaari by engine failure.


The security and defense policy reports make broad assessments of Finland's security and defense policy as a whole. The security and defense policy report is the Government's basic position, setting out the principles and objectives for Finland's security and defense policy and providing a framework for its implementation in the different sectors.

The Reports conducts a thorough examination of the change in Finland's international environment and its effects on Finland's capability as well as on comprehensive security. The assessment of the environment creates the basis for determining the line of action.

Based on these, the reports shows the development and resource needs that focus on the different dimensions of the capability, external capability, especially crisis management capability, defense, the maintaining of internal security and the safeguarding of society's central basic functions.

Finland's foreign and security policy line, until this, is essentially based on the conduct of a consistent foreign policy, ensuring the functioning society and promotion of citizens' security and wellbeing as well as a credible national defense, active role as a Member State of the European Union (EU), and participation in international decision-making and in the work of the United Nations and other global and regional organizations. Finnish military policy’s corner stones are non-alignment, 250 000 national service army, fighter Air force and the Navy.

A government-commissioned, independent assessment (May 2016) of the effects of Finland's possible NATO membership says that Finland's expanded partnership status with NATO is as close to the limit that it can reach without being a full member. Full membership would probably lead to a serious crisis with Russia, according to the report.

Besides being nonaligned country, Finland has partnership with NATO and many joint military exercises with the Nordic countries, especially Sweden. Finnish steady, reliable and predictable doctrine has kept Finland outside speculations in the history and hopefully will do in the worsening international climate, especially in Europe. Question of Crimea, Ukrainian “frozen” crises and more or less unstable situation in east European countries have raised tension between East and West. Russian rearmament and NATO activities, especially in the Baltic area, provoke unrest in this part of the world.

Lars-Olof Fredriksson, Master in Politics, International affairs

Finland should not join NATO and should not make a referendum of the possible alliance. The basics of security policy must be discussed transparently and intelligibly, but military reviews and decisions should be left to those to whom military decision-making belongs. By voting, defense decisions cannot be made.

The country's geopolitical position, history and the continuity of the chosen line form the basis for military preparation. Based on these preferences a defense strategy and required tools will be created.

In Finland, it is permissible to speak in addition to these defense criteria about the will to defend own country with national forces. About 80 % of Finns are eager to take part in the national service. The system is the most appropriate and cost effective for areal defense of the Finnish territory.

Finland has respected foreign expertise, but the most important thing is our own preparations and the will to defend the country in all conditions. Question of an alliance contradict: If Russia is attacking, is it enough with own resources, what about external aid?

Speaking a lot of vague threats and questioning the basic solutions of independent defense produces uncertainty and unnecessary fears. Finland's national strong and credible defense has long traditions serving the 100-year long history of independence and in the future, too!  (LOF)

The Finnish Defence Forces (puolustusvoimatförsvarsmakten) are responsible for the defence of Finland. A universal male conscription is in place, under which all men above 18 years of age serve for 165, 255 or 347 days. Alternative non military service and volunteer service by women (about 500 chosen annually) are possible.

Finland is the only non-NATO EU country bordering Russia (1300 kilometers allso EU border). Finland's official policy states that a wartime military strength of 230,000 personnel constitutes a sufficient deterrent. The army consists of a highly mobile field army backed up by local defence units. The army defends the national territory and its military strategy employs the use of the heavily forested terrain and numerous lakes to wear down an aggressor, instead of attempting to hold the attacking army on the frontier.

Finland's defence budget equals approximately 2,7 billion euros or 1.3 percent of the GDP. The voluntary overseas service is highly popular and troops serve around the world in UN, NATO and EU missions. Homeland defence willingness stands at 76%, one of the highest rates in Europe.