Finnish – Swedish naval co-operation

Mikko Villikari,
Commander, Chief of Operations,
Coastal Fleet,

The deepened defence cooperation between Finland and Sweden aims at increasing effect and efficiency through combined use of resources, through increased interoperability and through a closer dialogue on common challenges. It is based on the already close defence cooperation between the two countries.

On the 6 of May 2014 the Finnish and Swedish defence Ministers signed an action Plan for deepened defence cooperation between Finland and Sweden. The cooperation is divided in to several areas. This article is about the Navy part, FISE Naval.

The aim of the deepened defence cooperation in FISE Naval is to achieve increased operational effect through combined use of resources, increased interoperability and a closer dialogue on common challenges.

FISE Naval is created in order to enhance the bilateral naval cooperation between Sweden and Finland. The Swedish and Finnish navies have been engaged in different types of cooperation, i.e. bilateral exercises, exchange, development and acquisition programmes, but also activities with a more operational goal.  The main effort of the vision Swedish-Finnish Naval Task Group (SFNTG) is to find cost-effective and smart ways to utilize the two navies’ operational capabilities and capacities into available forces in order to meet today´s and tomorrow´s security challenges.

FISE Naval, including SFNTG (Swedish Finnish Naval Task Group) and SUCFIS (Sea surveillance cooperation Finland and Sweden), is established under the joint FISE framework agreement between the Finnish and Swedish Armed Forces. The aim of the SUCFIS-cooperation is information exchange between Finnish and Swedish sea surveillance systems in order to improve maritime situational awareness. The development of the SFNTG is based on a Vision and a Road Map documents which have been developed by the Navy Command Finland and Maritime Component Command Sweden and are signed by the Chiefs of the Navies. The SFNTG is a tactical unit, covering all warfare areas except for submarine warfare. In the same level, there is also SFATU (Swedish Finnish Amphibious Task Unit). SFATU consists of Commander, staff element and units. The main goal of SFATU is the deepened cooperation of amphibious troops.

The Task Group would consist of units already deployed in different pools of forces by Sweden or Finland, as well as other naval and coastal forces, maintenance units and staff. This separately tailored Task Group can be provided for international crisis management tasks as a ready and trained unit with a ready-to-use command structure. The Task Group would consist of staff and separately designated surface warfare units, mine clearance units and amphibious units.

The Task Groups operational functions are designed to command and Control, ability to exchange information (Intelligence), engagement, ability to concentrate troops and performance (Mobility), sustainability and protection.

To support operational functions, following potential areas of cooperation has been identified such as planning capability, management system capability (C4I), force generation, compatibility (Doctrine / Interoperability), training and exercises, equipment and procurement, personnel management and personnel exchange, service and support performance (Logistics and infrastructure).

The SFNTG has been in various exercises since 2014, both CAX (computer aided exercise and livex at sea. The two main annual exercise of the SFNTG have been the TTT (table top tactics) during winter time (CAX) and livex, the Northern Coast exercise. The SFNTG has been commanded by both Swedish and Finnish Commanders. The change of command takes place every year, so that every other year Swedish commander is in charge and every other year Finnish commander commands the SFNTG.

The ships or units in the SFNTG have consisted of surface war ships and mine clearance units. The main task of SFNTG has been sea surveillance and protection of shipping. The next exercise the SFNTG participates will be Northern Coast 2019 in the Southern Baltic Sea.

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