Interview with Raimo Jyväsjärvi, National Armaments Director at the Ministry of Defence of Finland.
ESD: In many western countries, the changed security-political situation in Europe has induced governments to allocate additional funds for defence and armament. To what extent and in what way has this trend influenced things in your country?
Jyväsjärvi: This is indeed the situation also in Finland. Finland’s military operating environment has changed. Military activity and military tensions have increased in the Baltic Sea region. That means that we are also allocating additional funds for defence to improve our readiness so that we are able to respond to the changes in the security environment. Because Finland never abandoned the national defence as one of the key priorities in our security policy, the defence fundaments are already in good shape. Strategic capability programmes of the Navy and the Air Force (Squadron 2020 and HX) will be financed by additional resources during 2019-2031. During next decade our defence spending is coming close to 2% of the GDP.
ESD: What are the most important military aerospace programmes in your country, both current and forthcoming?
Jyväsjärvi: The most important one is the HX programme that aims to replace the existing F/A-18 HORNET fleet’s capability. The procurement decision will be made in 2021.
ESD: What share of your procurement funds is invested in military aerospace R&D and what are you concentrating on?
Jyväsjärvi: Finnish Defence Forces invest annually a reasonable amount from its procurement funds to military aerospace related R&D projects. Currently the main aerospace R&D priority areas include the overall development of current air combat capabilities, the HX fighter programme aims to replace the current fleet (64 fighters) of F/A-18 HORNETs, and emerging space technologies.
ESD: Which of these are carried out in international partnerships, and who are your partners?
Jyväsjärvi: Currently, Finnish Defence Forces actively participate in multilateral R&D cooperation, for example, within the framework of the European Defence Agency (EDA). Overall, international cooperation is an integral part of the Finnish Defence Force´s R&D activities, and especially multilateral cooperation is becoming increasingly important along the development of the new funding mechanisms such as the EDF.
ESD: What are your nation’s current activities and considerations in the framework of PESCO (Permanent Structured Cooperation) and what are your plans?
Jyväsjärvi: The launching of PESCO was a major step. We expect PESCO to become a driving force for defence investment, capability development and operational readiness. It is a broad framework for defence cooperation, set to tighten along the years. For us, joining PESCO was an easy decision to take. The binding commitments of PESCO are the element that sets it apart from previous defence initiatives. Currently we participate in four PESCO projects and are observers in six projects. We are currently assessing new possible projects. Military Mobility is a good example of a PESCO project that can support our defence capabilities and help protect the Union and its citizens.
The questions were asked by Peter Bossdorf.