Sweden flies first time intelligence mission close to Kola Peninsula
“The racetrack pattern parallel to the Russian border is a typical flightpath for a military aircraft conducting a surveillance or intelligence gathering mission,” explains Per Erik Solli.
He says the S 102 B Gulfstream is a modified civilian aircraft with systems onboard to register information from radar systems and other emitters. The Swedish Air Force has two such planes that for the most are operating over the Baltic Sea area.
The plane flew back-and-forth over Lake Inari for about two hours from noon on Wednesday before it turned south and continued along Finland’s eastern border. The plane is based at Malmens airport near Linköping in southern Sweden.
New NATO members
A new security cooperation is unfolding above the Arctic Circle. Finland joined NATO in April. Sweden is on the doorstep of the Alliance, but practical military intelligence gathering is already underway.
While Norway has self-imposed restraint on NATO activity near its border with Russia, Finland invited US intelligence flights along the eastern frontier in March this year.
The American spy plane flew all north to the border areas near the military important Kola Peninsula, home to Putin’s ballistic missile submarines and the Olenya Air Base which frequently sees take-off by heavy bombers carrying cruise missiles launched against civilian targets in Ukraine.
With Sweden now sending its military signal intelligence planes over Finnish air space in the north sends a strong signal to Moscow about the new Nordic defense participation within NATO.
Russia on August 2 started its Ocean Shield-2023, a naval exercise in the Baltic Sea. According to the Defense Ministry more than 30 warships and 20 support vessels take part, in addition to naval aviation and aerospace forces.
Several of the warships will make inter-naval transitions to their permanent bases, a statement from the ministry says. That includes Northern Fleet ships sailing back to Severomorsk on Russia’s Barents Sea coast.