A soldier of the Finnish army. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

Finnish Navy is an expert in the challenging, shallow waters archipelago, and on Thursday, it taught German troops how to maneuver in the archipelago of the most southern city, Hanko.

Lieutenant general Eero Pyötsiä, chief of operations at Finnish Defence Forces, was present, inspecting the drill, which included harbor protection.

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“The inspection revealed that the German troops had an opportunity to maneuver among the dense islands. This is not possible along the German coast where the geography is different,” Pyötsiä said in a bulletin.

Northern Coasts 18 exercise (NOCO18), which is led by the Finnish Navy and began on October 25, will go on till November 8. About 4.000 persons and dozens of surface vessels and aircraft are participating in the exercise.


Besides navigation on the Finnish shores, operations in low and no light conditions were set as training objectives for the German troops. The Germans were also interested in Finnish boats. The task group staff is formed jointly between German and Finnish forces.

The aim is to train naval international combined operations at unit and command levels in all fields of naval warfare and to enhance the interoperability of the multinational units, especially when operating in coastal conditions.

For Finns, an international exercise offers a great opportunity to train with larger unit entities and capabilities in their home country and its neighboring areas. NOCO18 also enables training according to the tasks of the Defence Forces, among other things regarding providing and receiving international assistance and host nation support.

Working on bilateral defense with neighboring Sweden is another goal of NOCO18.

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“Cooperation with Sweden is under constant development,” said general Pyötsiä.

According to Pyötsiä, a multinational exercise offers learning opportunities in leadership and cooperation. The management of systems and people gets more complicated with the increase of participating nations.

“In a successful multinational exercise, we observe how the other nations are doing things. Using a critical eye one can learn and find well-grounded reasons to modify one’s own TTPs (Tactics, Techniques and Procedures). If we don’t exercise together we can’t act together,” said Pyötsiä.