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Defence Forces confirm sightings of unidentified drones near military zones and drills

Finland’s Defence Forces have confirmed sightings of unmanned aerial vehicles or drones flying over military areas and even military exercises. In some cases the military has contacted drone operators to inspect possible footage recorded.

Miehittämätön lennokki esillä Singaporen ilmailunäytöksessä 16. helmikuuta 2016.
A military drone on display at an aviation show in Singapore in July. Image: Wallace Woon / EPA

The Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter recently reported that that a remote-controlled drone disrupted Swedish army military drills to the extent that officials shot it down.

Finnish Defence Forces have since confirmed to Yle that drone activity has also been observed in Finland. Lieutenant Colonel Vesa Mäntylä of the Defence Forces’ operations division told Yle that drones have been seen in Finland over military zones as well as well near exercises.

"The Finnish Defence Forces have information about isolated sightings of drone activity in military zones and exercises, but those incidents have not resulted in the same kind of disruptions as in Sweden," Mäntylä commented.

However the military would not disclose whether or not there have also been sightings of drones conducting surveillance activities for foreign powers.

"I would not speak of surveillance drones but generally of unmanned craft. We are talking about commercially available drones which can have many kinds of features. They can be used for hobbies or to record video or take photos," he said.

Mäntylä said that in some cases the Defence Forces have contacted drone operators to inspect the material recorded by cameras, however they have not confiscated any of the material.

The division chief pointed out that under normal circumstances the Force has the authority to intervene and stop unauthorised activity on land, at sea and in the air, using force if necessary. Officials then evaluate each situation to determine whether the use of force is required.

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