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Finland could replace its Russian surface-to-air missiles

(B2)Finland could change its Russian-made anti-aircraft defense system by 2012 with a system from NATO countries. A Norwegian system and a Franco-Italian system are thus in the running, according to our colleagues at Helsingin Sanomat, at a cost of around 400 million euros.

Finland is currently equipped with Russian-made “Buk” or “Gadfly” equipment, acquired in 1996, in return for Russia's debts to the Nordic country (around 200 million euros). Device comprising 3 Buk batteries, and 72 missiles, deployed in Hyrylä, to defend the Helsinki region against air attacks.

The advantage of the Norwegian Nasams missile – used by Norway, the United States and Spain – is that it can also be used by the Hornet fighter jets of the Finnish Air Force. But disadvantage: its limited range, 25 km. While the Russian Buk can already reach a target of 35 km. And that its Franco-Italian competitor, the SAMP/T, manufactured by MBDA reaches 100 km (it combines Arabel fire control and Aster 30 missiles, and is used in France, Italy, United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia).

According to our Finnish colleagues, this change would be dictated more by political reasons (adopting a NATO system) than operational (the Buk device would only be mid-life) or economic (there are modernized versions of the Buk).


Photo: SAMP/T system – Aster missile © NGV

(1) Defense Minister Jyri Häkämies supports Finland's membership in NATO

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).