Tag: Security

Sweden to Boost Defense Spending

Swedish army Srtidsvagn 122

The government and two parties in the center-right opposition have agreed to increase the defence spending with SEK 8,1 billion until 2020.

In 2015, five parties reached an agreement over defence and defence spending until 2020. But in the beginning of this year, those parties reopened talks to increase that budget, as a result of what was referred to as “the worsening security situation”.

The talks were supposed to have been finalized before the summer, but have been dragging on. After the parties met in the beginning of this week, the Christian Democrats announced that they were not happy with where the negotiations were going, and so would leave the talks.

Now, the government, made up of the Social Democrats and the Green Party, has reached an agreement with the biggest opposition party in parliament, the conservative Moderate Party, and the Centre Party to increase the defence spending by SEK 2,7 billion per year between 2018 and 2020.

Earlier this year, the Supreme Commander of the Swedish Armed Forces, Micael Bydén told the government that another SEK 9 billion would be needed until 2020, in order to fulfill the task set by the defence agreement from 2015.

At a press conference on Wendesday, Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist thanked the Moderates, the Greens and the Centre Party for good co-operation during the negotiations.

“Continuity in Swedish defence and security policy is crucial,” said Hultqvist at the press conference.
The defence spokesperson of the Moderate Party, Hans Wallmark (M), said that this agreement is in line with what the Supreme Commander had demanded earlier this year. Wallmark said that it was thanks to his party that the increased spending was as high as it was.

“The alternative would have been zero or significantly lower sums,” Wallmark said.

In a comment on twitter on Wednesday, the leader of the Liberal Party, Jan Björklund, said: “The defence decision of 2015 was a) under-financed b) insufficient. Now the decision is fully financed, but Sweden’s defence is still insufficient.”

The Liberal Party left the talks already in 2015, in protest against the direction the talks were taking.

 

 

 

New Commander of the Finnish Army: “General conscription works”

Major General Petri Hulkko assumed the post of Commander of the Finnish Army on 1 August 2017. The Army Commander Change of Command Ceremony was held on 31 July 2017 in Mikkeli.

Major General Hulkko transfered to his new position from the post of Chief of Staff of Army Command Finland. Lieutenant General Seppo Toivonen, who has led the army since July 2014, has transfered to the reserve.

Lieutenant General Seppo Toivonen has developed the army and its readiness in accordance with the demands brought about by rapid change in the security environment. In his speech at the ceremony, Major General Hulkko thanked his predecessor, saying that the Defence Forces Reform planned under his leadership has created a good foundation for the operations and further development of the Finnish Army.

Under Lieutenant General Toivonen, the army has changed from a trainer of conscripts into a true readiness and training organisation. The use and training of personnel as well as the exercise system has been refined in order to respond to even more rapid and unexpected situational development.

Lately, the army has implemented both functioning and cost-effective solutions for materiel development. This decade has been one of development for the Finnish Army, while the strategic projects of the Navy and Air Force are to begin in earnest at the turn to the 2020s.

Modern equipment and training means that the Maavoimat will be leading-edge well into the 2030s

“From the army’s point of view, we must also look towards the future beyond strategic projects. The next time that army capabilities become outdated will be in the 2030s. Building capabilities takes on average ten years. Already at the beginning of the 2020s, we should be able to see the alternative solutions towards which we will have to begin to move”. Major General Hulkko said.

“Also in the future, national defence will be built upon general conscription. Personally, I see no other alternatives. Together, we must continue to do our utmost, so that as many Finnish men and female volunteers as possible enter military service and honourably complete it. This is not a demand stemming only from military need, it is also of great benefit to our entire society”. Major General Hulkko emphasised.

The change in the international security environment has placed significant expectations also on the army. As part of the Defence Forces, and in cooperation with other authorities, the army must continuously be prepared, and have the capability to react to traditional military threats as well as to more complex threats than earlier.

The army’s participation in military crisis management and the significantly increased amount of international cooperation are part of displaying and developing the credibility of national defence. Lieutenant General Toivonen emphasised the exceptional dedication to their tasks of the army’s personnel.

I would like to thank everyone serving in the army for their efforts in furthering our readiness capability. The army’s salaried personnel and conscripts are an important resource both in disturbances in normal conditions and in case of unexpected changes in the security environment. The army’s extended capability rests naturally on our reservists”. Lieutenant General Toivonen said in his speech.

“With great gratitude I would like to commemorate the sacrifices made by our veteran generation. Without their struggle and post-war rebuilding, Finland would be very different from what it is today. I am certain that the chain of defenders of our independent fatherland will carry on strong also in the future”, he continued.

The change of command ceremony included the unveiling of the portrait of the retiring commander Lieutenant General Toivonen, a luncheon for invited guests and the handover ceremony in the courtyard of the Mikaeli concert and congress centre. All of the army’s brigade-level units were represented at the ceremony. After the ceremony the Conscript Band of the Defence Forces performed for invited guests in the Mikaeli concert hall.

MAAVOIMAT

Ships in Focus: Hämeenmaa-class minelayer

FNS Uusimaa

The Hämeenmaa-class minelayers (Finnish: Hämeenmaa-luokan miinalaiva) is a two vessel strong class of minelayers, used by the Finnish Navy.

The ships have a steel hull and alloy superstructure. The class has an ice operating classification of ICE-1A and can operate year-round. The design included some first attempts on stealth technology in the Finnish Navy.

During a crisis the main task for the Hämeenmaa-class ships is minelaying, but the vessels can also act as escort, transport and depot ships.

The contract for the Hämeenmaa class was originally awarded to Wärtsilä Marine, but following its bankruptcy the contract was transferred to Hollming. Turmoil in the Finnish shipbuilding industry didn’t stop there. In early 1992 Hollming and Rauma Yards merged their shipbuilding industry to form a new company called Finnyards.

Modernization

Both ships were modernized 2006–08. The purpose of the modernization was to firstly upgrade the ships’ equipment to fit modern standards, and secondly, to enable the ships to participate in international operations, mainly European Security and Defence Policy operations. They are fitted with weapons systems transferred from the discontinued Tuuli-class hovercraft including the Umkhonto missile system. Also a new fire control system Saab 9LV325E FCS, modern monitoring equipment including TRS3D-16ES surveillance radar and Kongsberg ST2400 Variable Depth Sonar and SS2030 Hull mounted sonar, were installed.

In October 2013, Hämeenmaa changed its homeport from Pansio to Upinniemi to replace the decommissioned Pohjanmaa.

Umkhonto missile system

Modernization of the two Hämeenmaa-class ships serves of course the interests of Finnish Navy, but also the ones of EU’s Helsinki Headline Goal: these two ships will most likely be the most important ships for EU, having relatively wide selection of roles that they can assume, from light espionage- and minelayer ship to escort- and anti-submarine warfare ship, these two vehicles are practically perfect for monitoring Russia’s Baltic fleet.

Weaponry
Original After modernization
2 × Bofors 40 mm dual-purpose guns 1 × Bofors 57 mm dual-purpose gun
2 × twin 23 mm anti-aircraft guns 2 x 12,7mm machine guns
1 × six-missile ItO 91 surface-to-air missile launcher 1 × eight-cell ItO 04 surface-to-air missile launcher
2 × anti-submarine rocket launchers 2 × anti-submarine rocket launchers
2 × depth charge rails 2 × depth charge rails
100-150 sea mines (four mine laying rails) 100-150 sea mines (four mine laying rails)

Hämeenmaa was delivered from the dock back to the Navy on 13 April 2007 and Uusimaa, which had been under modernization since November 2006 at the Aker Yards dock in Rauma, was delivered on 26 October 2007. Hämeenmaa and Uusimaa conducted sea trials on their new systems until the end of 2008, when operational readiness was achieved. In October 2013 Hämeenmaa took over the role of flagship of the Finnish Navy with the retirement of Pohjamaa in 2015.

Hämeenmaa-class minelayer, FNS Uusimaa, on exercise with a Hamina-class missile boat

Vessels

FNS Hämeenmaa Pennant number: 02.

Builder: Finnyards.Ordered: 29 December 1989.Laid down: 2 April 1991.Launched: 11 November 1991.

Commissioned: 15 April 1992.Home base: Upinniemi. Current status: In active service.

FNS Uusimaa Pennant number: 05.

Builder: Finnyards.Ordered: 13 February 1991.Laid down: 12 November 1991.Launched: June 1992.

Commissioned: 2 December 1992.Home base: Pansio. Current status: In active service.

FNS Hämeenmaa, pennant number 02, a Hämeenmaa class minelayer at Suomenlinna, Helsinki
Class overview
Name: Hämeenmaa
Operators:  Finnish Navy
Preceded by: Finnish minelayer Pohjanmaa
Succeeded by:
Completed: 2
General characteristics
Type: Minelayer
Displacement: 1,450 tons
Length: 77.8 m (255 ft)
Beam: 11.5 m (38 ft)
Draught: 3 m (9.8 ft)
Propulsion: 2 × Wärtsilä Vasa 16V22 diesel; 5,200 kW with 2 CW propellers
Speed: 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph)
Complement: 60
Sensors and
processing systems:
  • Furuno S/X (nav radars)
  • Saab 9LV325E FCS (Fire Control System)
  • Simrad hull-mounted sonar
  • EADS TRS3D-16ES (Surveillance Radar)
  • Sagem EOMS (Electro Optical Multisensor System)
Electronic warfare
& decoys:
  • Decoy: 2 × MASS (Multi Ammunition Softkill Systems)
  • ESM: Thales DR3000 SIEWS (Shipborne Integrated Electronic Warfare System)
Armament:
  • 1 × Bofors 57 mm/70 Mk1
  • 8-cell Denel Umkhonto-IR VLS SAM system
  • 2 × 12.7 mm machine gun
  • 2 × H&K GMG grenade machinegun
  • 2 × RBU-1200 depth charge rocket launcher
  • 2 × rails for depth charges
  • 4 × rails for 100-150 mines
Notes:
  • Ships in class include:
  • FNS Hämeenmaa (02)
  • FNS Uusimaa (05)