The Ministry of defence of Finland has dramatically accelerated the purchase of a large batch of self-propelled artillery. Previously it was assumed that an inmate with the South Korea deal will be implemented in four years, but Helsinki has suddenly decided to purchase the howitzers this year, as well as increase the size of the army by 20 percent. Why Helsinki is expanding its armed forces?
The Minister of defence of Finland Jussi Niinistö on Friday approved the purchase from South Korea batch of 48 howitzers. However, we are talking about used, not new guns is a 155-millimeter self-propelled artillery units (SAU) K9 “thunder”. But it was expected that the transaction will take place only four years later in 2021-m, and now the Minister of defense decided to accelerate the delivery.
“Field artillery they have presented to Soviet samples. For example, reactive systems of salvo fire “Grad”. There are also other samples, such as BMP-2″
“The cost of the transaction will amount to 146 million Euro. It also includes training, spare parts and activities of the service”, – reports TASS with reference to the press service of the defense Ministry. Due to the howitzers of the Finnish side counts in 2020-2030 to replace the Korean samples obsolete weapons, released in the USSR.
Replacement of Soviet arms
Niinistö also said that the armed forces of Finland will be increased from the current 230 thousand to 280 thousand – in the event of a conflict. Until 2012, the army consisted of 350 thousand soldiers, but later its population decreased by 120 thousand people. Given the fact that the population of Finland is about 5.5 million people, the country has a very large army. However, it is worth making a reservation – it is made up mainly of reservists. The real number of active armed forces is about 20 thousand people.
His decision Niinistö explained the increased tension in the Baltic region and in the Donbas and a common threat of war. “Our environment and geostrategic position has changed. The probability of traditional war returned to a number of threats,” said the Minister, adding that Finland is not like the neighboring Baltic States, “relying on others”, therefore it is necessary to maintain the armed forces in combat readiness. In this case we are talking not only about direct military conflict, but also about the reflection of cyber attacks. However, the Minister immediately made a paradoxical remark that the decision is not directly associated with Russia, as the Eastern neighbor poses no threat to Finland.
“Russia seeks to strengthen the status of world powers, and expressed the intention to establish a system of security based on spheres of influence”, – quotes on Friday Deutsche Welle report of the Ministry of defense, who was personally presented to the public Niinistö. According to the report, Moscow has demonstrated a willingness “to apply the regular armed forces and a wide range of other tools” to achieve their goals.
If you increase the army planned to use the conscripts and guards, but in General the emphasis will be on development of ground forces and rapid reaction troops, said Niinistö. He said that the army increase will cost an additional 55 million euros every year. We will remind, last year the military budget has increased from 2.7 to 2.9 billion euros. This year on defense allocated 2.8 billion euros, or 1.3% of the GDP of the Republic.
As you know, in 2025 the country’s armed forces are going to replace 61 American fighter F/A-18C/D Hornet. “The project is the replacement fighter Hornet dear, – declared the Prime Minister Juha Sipilä, who was quoted by the portal “Fontanka”, but the report of the Ministry of defence until a specified number of aircraft. Most likely, this issue will be solved by the government in 2020-2021 years.”
Chief editor of the magazine “Arsenal Fatherland” Victor murakhovski sees nothing alarming in the decision of the Finnish command on rearmament, even accelerated. “Howitzers are the Koreans in mass production, problems with their supply. Pay the money and Korea will put them. Apparently, he played the role of any internal financial or political issues of Finland”, – said the military expert. But overall, in his opinion, is “normal for any armed forces process” – because now there are weapons systems of the previous generation, who spent a large part of the resource.
“The question then is: or upgrade system of the previous generation, or to procure the next generation. Field artillery they have presented to Soviet samples. For example, reactive systems of salvo fire “Grad”. There are also other samples, such as BMP-2. It is the Soviet technique of development and production of 70-80 years. They believe that new weapons systems, particularly the Korean self-propelled guns, will increase the efficiency of the armed forces, increasing their numbers,” – said murakhovski.
Military expert pointed out an important feature of the Finnish defence forces, which is always less than 10 thousand of contract and a significant portion of the staff is in the reserve of the first stage. “To hold the increase in population is expected in the first place due to the reserve component rather than contractors. Since 2008 Finland has reduced the number of military personnel, weapons and special equipment,” – said the newspaper VIEW.
However, some political forces want the country’s accession to NATO and support the idea of establishing a common European army. “But for defense, it should be noted that after world war II, the Finns were very reasonable policy. They bought weapons from Russia. I do not think that the policy of Helsinki will change radically. There’s no sentiment in favor of preparing for war with Russia”, – assured the expert.
The expert is convinced that the best guarantee of the defense of Finland remain a good relationship with Russia. “From the Russian side there will be no threat if Finland will continue good relations, will not provide its territory, air and Maritime space by foreign forces,” he said.
More than half – against NATO
Before the presentation of the report, as reported by the newspaper VIEW, in Finland were made public the results of a poll in which the number of opponents of membership in NATO with 2013 decreased by 12% to 51%. However, we cannot say that to the same extent increased the number of NATO supporters. For membership in NATO are 21% compared to 17% in 2013. In this society and the growing doubts about NATO. Thus, 28% of citizens do not know whether to join them in a neutral country in the Alliance. In the summer of 2013 was such an insecure 20%, reports Yle.
Note that neighboring Sweden also confirmed that it does not intend to enter into any military alliances. Moscow has repeatedly promised to take additional measures to ensure their safety in case of accession of these countries into NATO.
Finnish scientist, the representative of RISS in the countries of Northern Europe Johan Bekman considers increase in army as a sign that the role of the armed forces in society is growing. “What the military wants to raise defense spending, I would call a sign of movement toward NATO. At the same time in the media launched anti-Russian campaign. Only yesterday on TV of a General talked about the real threat from Russia, although politicians talk about the absence of threats. Generals and officers are all active,” said Beckman newspaper VIEW.
According to him, in the framework of the information campaign, the media tell us that the country is preparing to invade the “little green men” and the alleged “Russia could use the same tactics as in Crimea.” “Such comments are extremely dangerous. To say that Russia allegedly wants to use such a scenario is nonsense. Historically, our relations are at a very high level and continue even now to develop. But in the army, including officers and generals, about Russia there is no unified position. There is a split: one part wants to join NATO, others don’t want. Many military studied in Russia, and they have an objective view of what is happening,” he said.