16:35 GMT +316 December 2019
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    Finnish missile boat Pori (83), the fourth ship of Hamina class missile boats, in South Harbor of Helsinki.

    Finnish Armed Forces Slated for Mass Upgrades on Land and at Sea

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    Finland is planning a series of massive updates for its armed forces, which include counter artillery systems and high-precision projectiles. Moreover, the non-aligned Nordic country is buying torpedoes for the first time since World War II.

    In the coming years, Finland plans to acquire counter artillery radar systems, previously unbeknown to the Finnish Armed Forces. According to Finnish daily Helsingin Sanomat, the effectiveness of such systems has been observed during the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, where 85 percent of casualties were reportedly caused by artillery fire.

    According to Finnish Armed Forces artillery inspector Colonel Pasi Pasivirta, the aim is to accelerate the acquisition schedule so that the radar system will be in active use by 2020. By Pasivirta's estimations, the choice is between six to seven companies, including Sweden's Saab, Israel's Elta Systems and the US' Raytheon. The Finnish Defense Forces have made an open request, which means that Russia potentially may participate in the tender. However, Pasivirta declined to assess what the Russians could offer. The overall price tag for the new system is expected to run into tens of millions of euros. The final price will be determined by the scope of the system purchased.

    In a related case, the Finnish Armed Forces are seeking high-precision ammunition for their artillery. According to Pasivirta, Finland is prepared to study the state-of-the-art market for homing missiles and is preparing a market survey, to begin with.

    "Generally speaking, we are examining future projectiles to secure both long range and high precision," Pasi Pasivirta told Helsingin Sanomat.

    Judging by European standards, Finland has powerful artillery. According to the Finnish Defense Ministry, Finland possesses heavy-caliber artillery, heavy grenade launchers and multiple launch rocket systems.

    Furthermore, the Finnish Armed Forces were in early January reported ready to introduce new anti-personnel land mines as replacement for the devices prohibited by the Ottawa Treaty, which Finland joined in 2011.

    The device was derived on a previous bouncing mine model developed in Finland and found to be an effective weapon by the Defense Forces. When tripped, the new mine launches the body of the mine into the air and sprays fragmentation at roughly waist height, utilizing a top-down vertical destructive force rather than a horizontal or bottom-up blast as in regular land mines. According to Finnish national broadcaster Yle, Finnish military is likely to add the new mine to its arsenal as early as next year. Several European governments have expressed interest in the project, and Finland's military-industrial complex is considering export possibilities.

    Yet another remarkable feature of the coming military reshuffle in the Finnish Armed Forces is the re-introduction of anti-submarine torpedoes, for the first time since World War II. For decades, mines and missiles have made up the bulk of the navy's capabilities. The Finnish Navy's four Hamina-class missile-capable fast attack craft (FAC) will receive a torpedo fit as part of an overall mid-life upgrade program expected to run between 2019 and 2021, Finnish newspaper Iltalehti reported.

    After World War II, the Finnish military was substantially limited by the Paris peace talks in 1947. For the Finnish Navy, this meant a limitation of no more than 10,000 tonsand 4,500 men, as well as a ban on torpedoes, submarines, mines and missiles. The restrictions were eased somewhat in the 1960s and nullified by the breakup of the Soviet Union. However, the size of the Finnish Navy remains roughly the same as during the Cold War-era.

    At present, the museum submarine Vesikko remains the only one in Finnish possession. Four other submarines in service during the war years were scrapped in 1953.


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