In 2018, Finland’s military budget will reach an all-time high of EUR 3041 million which is an increase with an additional EUR 55 million from their last year’s expenditure. Finland is also planning an increase in the wartime strength of the Finnish armed forces, from 230,000 to 280,000 soldiers which is seen in the government’s Defence Report adopted by their parliament.
On 5th of July, 2018 the Finnish Defence Forces’ Logistics Command was authorized to make an agreement for the purchase of new Israeli Gabriel Surface-to-Surface Missiles System 2020 (SSM2020) which were chosen among Norwegian, French, Swedish and US missile systems. The acquisition value is EUR 193 million and it will include launchers, the missiles, simulators, test equipment, spare parts and training. This missile system will be installed on board the Hamina Class, Squadron 2020 Class vessels and on a vehicle platform. This purchase is important when we put it in the context that the Finnish military undergoes a big project to modernize its naval arm. Squadron 2020 is a project that will replace seven older Finnish vessels with four multi-role corvettes – the new Pohjanmaa-class. Their construction will begin in 2019 while official Finnish military sources state that the full operational capability will be achieved by the mid-2020s. These new systems will boost Finland’s ability to surveil maritime areas, repelling violations of territorial integrity and securing sea lines of communication as stated on their official Defense Ministry webpage.
Finland’s shift towards investing more in their military which started in 2016-2017 comes after policies that cut their wartime strength from 350 000 to 230 000 soldiers and consolidating structures in their armed forces from 51 to 32 which is said to have centralized their logistics and also eliminated one level of command.
In the first half of 2017, the Finnish Ministry of Defense announced a contract worth EUR 146 million to acquire the artillery system – by 2024 they will get 48 K9 155 mm/L52 Thunder self-propelled guns from the Korean military. These systems are destined to replace the Cold War-era Soviet artillery systems the Finnish have. The contract includes provided systems of firing control, command and control as well as combat service supply, training instructions, safety regulations and training of personnel and conscripts. The Finnish Army has plans to create a new unit type – the heavy armored howitzer battery. The first operational K9 Thunder unit will be ready in 2020, according to official Finnish Army sources.