"We have information that an unmanned aircraft flew over Utö on two occasions at night," Armed Forces Press Officer Philip Simon told Dagens Nyheter.
Unmanned, remotely piloted aircraft have become regulars in crises and warfare. Even the Swedish military earlier purchased various drone types for their mission in Afghanistan. However, the drone that was detected over Utö was not part of the exercise and therefore baffled the Swedish Army. At present, the incident is being investigated by the Swedish military. Since the drones flew at a relatively high altitude of over 1,000 meters and did it at night, foreign surveillance was suspected to be behind the flight.
Over the last decade, authorities in the Nordic countries have reported numerous violations of their airspace, but none of the reports has mentioned drones until now. Small unmanned aircraft are notoriously difficult to detect, as they are rarely detected by the radar, only seen with the naked eye.
The Baltic countries, however, already have a record of unmanned drone visits. Last year, soldiers at the Estonian airbase Ämari reportedly opened fire on a helicopter drone with a camera, which was at once pinned on Russia. Subsequently, Latvian military bosses authorized personnel to shoot down drones over military training grounds.
"This is a very topical issue, as the number of drones has increased together with changes in our environment. At the moment, we are investigating legal changes that need to be done," Hanna Nordström of the Finnish Defense Ministry told the Finnish newspaper Hufvudstadsbladet.