Finland and NATO flags (Picture: designer491, Alamy Stock Photo).
NATO

Finland and the UK: A forces and firepower comparison

Finland and NATO flags (Picture: designer491, Alamy Stock Photo).

As Finland is now close to joining NATO, after the allies signed off on accession protocols, Forces News takes a look at its military firepower in comparison to the UK – a key player in the military alliance.

Finland's land mass (fifth largest in the European Union) has never been occupied, and its military is already interoperable with many NATO members.

A member of the UK-led Joint Expeditionary Force, it shares 800 miles of its border with Russia and is keen to secure them.

Here's an overview, using IISS Military Balance 2022 stats collected before Russia's invasion in February, which will have impacted the stock count for nations sending equipment to Ukraine.

The statistics show a vast difference in the two countries' military firepower – the UK has two aircraft carriers, while Finland has none –  and manpower – the UK has 133,950 more active personnel than Finland, while Finland has a far larger reserve force.

Manpower

UK

  • Active personnel: 153,200 (Army 85,800; Navy 34,050; Air 33,350)
  • Reserve personnel: 75,450

Finland

  • Active personnel: 19,250 (Army 13,400; Navy 3,150; Air 2,700)
  • Gendarmerie and Paramilitary: 2,700
  • Reserve personnel: 238,000

WATCH: Know Your Missiles – having a blast with the UK's most high-tech firepower.

Army

UK

  • Tanks: 227
  • Infantry fighting vehicles: 388+
  • Armoured personnel carriers: 805
  • Artillery: 598
  • Transport helicopters: 122
  • Multi role helicopters: 66
  • Surface-to-air missile systems: 74+

Finland

  • Tanks: 100 Leopard 2A6 (with 100 Leopard 2A4 in store)
  • Infantry fighting vehicles: 212
  • Armoured personnel carriers: 613
  • Artillery: 672
  • Transport helicopters: 20
  • Multi role helicopters: 7
  • Surface to air missile systems: 60+

WATCH: Finland's military strength explained.

Navy

UK

Royal Navy:

  • Aircraft Carriers: 2
  • Destroyers: 6
  • LPD (Landing Platform Docks): 2
  • Frigates: 12
  • Survey Ships: 4
  • Mine Countermeasure vessels: 11
  • Offshore Protection Vessels: 8
  • Ballistic Missile Submarines: 4
  • Other submarines: 6

Royal Fleet Auxiliary:

  • Amphibious ships: 3
  • Logistics and support: 12

Naval Aviation:

  • Transport: 4
  • Training: 16
  • Helicopters: 58

Royal Marines:

  • Armoured fighting vehicles: 99
  • Artillery: 39
  • Patrol and coastal combatants: 2
  • Amphibious landing craft: 26

Finland

Navy:

  • Patrol and coastal combatants: 20
  • Mine Warfare: 8
  • Amphibious Landing Craft: 51
  • Logistics and support vessels: 7
  • Coastal Defence forces have man-portable anti-tank and systems and anti-ship missile capabilities (4)

WATCH: Where is NATO deployed in Europe?

Air Force

UK

  • Fighter and Ground Attack: 234
  • Anti-submarine: 8
  • Electronic intelligence: 3
  • Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance: 6
  • Airborne early warning and control: 3
  • Tanker/transport: 10
  • Transport 46
  • Training: 164
  • Multi-role helicopters: 5
  • Transport helicopters: 3
  • Heavy UAV: 10
  • The RAF has a range of air-launched missiles and laser/GPS-guided bombs

Finland

  • Fighter and Ground Attack: 62
  • Electronic intelligence: 1
  • Light transport: 11
  • Training: 99
  • A range of air-launched missiles (including air-to-air and homing missiles) and INS/GPS-guided bombs

Gendarmerie & Paramilitary also possess:

  • Patrol and coastal combatants: 43
  • Amphibious landing craft: 6
  • Light transport aircraft: 2
  • Multi-role helicopters: 3
  • Transport helicopters: 9