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Finnish Air Force

Volume 404: debated on Tuesday 15 April 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps have been taken to increase co-operation between the RAF and the Finnish Air Force; whether joint training for RAF Harriers and Finnish F-18s has been achieved; whether training for Finnish pilots in air-to-air refuelling has been achieved; and if he will make a statement. [109349]

United Kingdom/Finnish defence relations are good and are growing closer, with relations between the Finnish Air Force and the RAF benefiting from successful bilateral co-operation. Useful training for RAF Harriers and Finnish F-18s took place as part of joint activities in 2001, which followed discussions instigated by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence. During this activity, two Finnish Air Force pilots were certified in air refuelling, and talks have taken place to discuss the possibility of further training. Naval Harriers are planned to participate in a Finnish exercise in June this year.