Finland participates in NATO drills for the first time as Alliance’s member
About 3,000 soldiers and nearly 400 armored vehicles, including Leopard and Abrams tanks, are taking part in Arrow 23 maneuvers. In addition to Finnish troops, U.S., British and Baltic forces are present. We already have a “different mindset”, General Timo Kivinen, commander of the Finnish Armed Forces said.
“The attitude has changed. We are in NATO. We have an obligation to defend each other and act together. Until now, we have participated in NATO exercises over the years as a partner country, but we are no longer a partner, but a member of the Alliance. This affects the nature of maneuvers both in Finland and abroad,” the highest-ranking Finnish military official, who personally observed the maneuvers added.
The maneuvers, held at training grounds in southwestern Finland, started on May 1 and will last until May 14. They include, among others, Warrior infantry fighting vehicles (U.K.), Pasi armored personnel carriers (Latvia), M113 armored personnel carriers (Lithuania), CV90 infantry fighting vehicles (Estonia), Bradley infantry fighting vehicles and Abrams tanks (U.S.), as well as Leopard 2 tanks (Finland).
“The objective of exercise Arrow 23 is to enhance the operating of mechanized units in demanding combat situations. The exercise will be commanded by the Commander of the Armoured Brigade, Colonel Rainer Kuosmanen,” the official Finnish Army website stated.
“The exercise will also include flight operations of the Air Force and the Army,” the army added.
In total, approximately 1300 people from the Finnish Army will participate in the exercise, including over 1000 conscripts.
Finland joined NATO’s Partnership for Peace program in 1994. In 2022, in response to the Russian attack on Ukraine, the Finnish government applied to join NATO. On April 4, 2023, the country was officially admitted to the Alliance.