Finnish President Sauli Niinistö

From Icenews:  Finland’s premier has said that the country’s possible commitment to assist with a NATO effort in patrolling Icelandic airspace will not be a combat mission but merely a series of peacetime training exercises. . . .

[Prime Minister Jyrki] Katainen told the media after the meeting [with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen] that Finland would not participate in “interception flights”, and that the tasks it does undertake will not be considered combat. He went on to add that Finnish and Swedish patrol aircraft would remain unarmed during the effort, as per standard NATO protocol.

From Gerard O’Dwyer, Defense News:  Finland has joined Sweden in provisionally agreeing to form a pan-Nordic Air-Policing unit (NAP), headed by NATO neighbors Denmark and Norway, which will police Icelandic airspace on a rotation basis.

The Finnish government, which insists its role does not signal any change in its policy of military non-alignment, will seek final approval to participate in the NAP in December. The NAP’s first operations are due to commence in 2013. . . .

"Although the project is being led by Norway, which is a NATO member, Finland sees this as a concrete opportunity for closer collaboration on Nordic defense. Our participation in patrols and exercises over Iceland will constitute an important step in the development of Nordic security cooperation," said Finnish President Sauli Niinistö, who is also the commander in chief of the armed forces.

Brigadier Gen. Lauri Puranen, commander of the Finnish Air Force (FAF), said he envisaged that some 60 of the projected 70 flight hours Finnish F-18 Hornets would fly over Iceland during any given three-week rotation period can be incorporated into combined exercise sessions with other Swedish, Danish or Norwegian air forces.  (photo: Radionova)