The majority of the funding is intended for the purchase of missiles and ammunition.
Finland must drastically increase defense spending to bolster deterrence, after a budget deal gave the country’s defense ministry most of what it asked for in the wake of Russia’s attack on the ‘Ukraine.
The government agreed on Tuesday to increase Finland’s military spending by 2.2 billion euros, and on Wednesday the chief of the Defense Forces Timo Kivinen and Minister of Defense Antti Kaikkonen (Cen) held a press conference where they explained exactly what they planned to do with the new funding.
“So what do we plan to acquire, I’ll give some examples,” Kaikkonen said. “Anti-tank weapons, air defense weapons, infantry equipment, artillery pieces, field hospital equipment and sea and air defense missiles. You could say that we are getting our stores in shape and maintaining our defense.”
The new funds will be spread over the period 2023-2026, with 700 million euros allocated this year.
Kivinen acknowledged that the sums in question were significant, but he said it was a necessary investment in the country’s defense capabilities. Among other things, the FDF plans to increase its stockpile of ammunition and spare parts of equipment.
The majority of the funding is intended for the purchase of missiles and ammunition devices already in use.
However, according to Kivinen, the acquisition and deployment of new aircraft – as well as intelligence capabilities – will also be accelerated.
The additional funding will also allow the FDF to increase staff numbers, a process that Kivinen says will begin immediately.
The FDF plans to increase its personnel by 500 and will increase the number of reservists it calls up each year to just under 30,000 troops from the current 19,300.
Defense Minister Antti Kaikkonen said that Finland’s defense capabilities are already in good shape, but the war in Ukraine has shown that it is vital to ensure that defense equipment, ammunition stocks and the will to defend the country must be in order.
Kaikkonen said the purpose of the additional defense investments is to ensure that war never crosses Finland’s borders.
Kivinen said the war in Ukraine highlighted the reasons for Finland’s defense readiness, including prepared reservists and weapon systems based on modern technology.