The five major Nordic nations have signed an agreement to share warplanes. State officials from Norway, Iceland, Sweden, Finland and Denmark said on Thursday (November 8) that an additional plan is also under consideration that would see the five nations share military-related costs, ground equipment and some operational tasks, including surveillance and tugboat operations.
Aircraft in the agreement include a dozen C-130 Hercules cargo planes, provided by Denmark and Sweden, as well as three Norwegian EADS CASA C-295 planes. However, the deal will not include fighter jets, according to reports.
Denmark’s defence minister Nick Hækkeru told the Jyllands-Posten newspaper, “The best solution would be to pool our resources so that we can access each other’s planes. Some planes are always unavailable, either due to servicing or repairs. This is an opportunity for a Nordic co-operation for the operative use of planes, maintenance, education and training exercises.”
Experts say the move highlights growing cuts to military spending in the European region, although some say cost savings through sharing programmes could also entail conflict.
Lars Bangert Struwe from the University of Copenhagen’s Centre for Military Studies told the Copenhagen Post, “It’s simple when you’re just dealing with things like ammunition, where you can get discounts for buying in bulk, but it quickly gets more complicated when you’re looking at sharing a radar facility in Sweden.”
He added, “What would happen if we fell out with Sweden? Or if a conflict arises that NATO is involved in, but Sweden has decided to stay out of it, and we rely upon them for surveillance?”