Military Flights within Helsinki FIR

Military traffic within Helsinki FIR is mainly operated by Finnish Air Force. Military traffic consists of local training flights, training in reserved areas (TRA/TSA), re-positioning flights or missions. The flight may be conducted under VFR or IFR flight rules. This document contains procedures and supplementary rules when controlling military traffic.

You will get sufficient information of how to control departures and arrivals as a local ATS Unit (tower or approach). This document also includes information of reserved TRA/TSA areas and how to operate a fighter control position in Helsinki FIR.

Military aircraft will operate either under General Air Traffic (GAT) or Operational Air Traffic (OAT) rules.

Military aircraft types

The Finnish Air Force operates with the following aircraft types:

VN  L70  Valmet L-70 Vinka 
GO  G115E  Grob Aircraft AG G115E & G115EA 
PI  PC12  Pilatus PC-12 Next Generation 
CC  C295  Airbus Military C295M 
LJ  LJ35  Learjet 35A/S 
HW  HAWK  BAE Systems Hawk Mk 51, 51A & 66 
HN   F18H Boeing F/A-18 C & D Hornet 

There are 3 types of callsigns used for military air traffic:

a) One letter followed by two numbers    T51
b) Abbreviation FNF (= FINNFORCE) followed by 1-3 numbers    FNF361
c) Tactical callsign followed by 0-2 numbers    HAWK2

Pressure setting

Military aircraft at or below the transition altitude (5000ft) will use the QNH-pressure setting. The QFE pressure shall be given on request. Flights operated with a QFE pressure setting are mostly for measuring-, parachute- and test flight activities. 

Military aircraft above the transition altitude are primarily using the standard pressure (QNE). Due to operational reasons the use of QNH and QFE may also be approved.

Every aircraft of the Finnish Airforce, except VN, are primarily flying with imperial units (feet).

ATC Clearance content and validity

Due to the nature of military traffic, some clearances are not able to comply with ATS rules and regulations. The exceptions of the rulses are listed in this document. These exceptions are only for military air traffic!

Flights cleared to a reserved TRA are allowed to descend to uncontrolled airspace at own discretion without reporting to the local ATS-Unit. The aircraft is also allowed to enter controlled airspace without a clearance, if the previous clearance is still valid.

The ATC clearance is valid until the aircraft has reached the border of the reserved area.

A clearance to climb or descend to a level within a vertical range can be given. The vertical range between two aircraft or two formations has to be at least 1000 feet.

HAWK1, climb to and maintain block 110 to 120. 

Operations to reserved TSA areas, TRA areas over international waters or D-, P- R-areas

Military air traffic is allowed to fly inside active TSA areas or TRA areas over international waters. When controlling a local tower position, the planned reserved airspaces are found in the flightplan route or remark section (RMK/EFTSA M17 OK). The ATC clearance is valid until the aircraft is inside the reserved airspace and transferred to fighter controller. The radio transfer shall take place latest over the airspace border.

FOCUS1, taxi to holding point M, runway 12 in use. Clearance available. 

FOCUS1, cleared to point H07C, climb to and maintain block 10 thousand to 11 thousand feet, QNH 1006, squawk 3676. 

Military air traffic is also allowed to operate in active P- and R-areas when the mission requires. You will get this information via the flight plan remark section (RMK/EFR111A OK). If the commander intends to operate inside an active Danger Area, it is under his own responsibility to do so.

The fighter controller may transfer inbound traffic to the local ATS-Unit, even if the aircraft is inside the reserved airspace. If no other agreements are made, the Air Traffic Controller is allowed to change the altitude and heading by not more than 45 degrees only after leaving the reserved area. Note that the distance to the reserved area must not decrease after an assigned turn! With prior coordination, the Air Traffic Controller is allowed to change the heading by not more than 45 degrees and give a clearance for descent, even if the aircraft is still inside the reserved airspace.

Local TRA Areas        TRA/TSA Areas

Squawk code assignment

Prior to squawk code assignment, an military operated aircraft is identifiable by it's unique SSR Code 2600. When providing ATS service, each aircraft shall get it's own unique SSR code, even in formation flying. Example of a clearance for a 3 ship formation flight:

SHARK1, cleared to Rovaniemi Training Area 15 and 16, 5000 feet, QNH 1013, squawk 3644. 

SHARK2, squawk 3645. 

SHARK3, squawk 3646. 

Runway clearances

A military aircraft can be cleared to lineup via the same holding point in use by another military aircraft. In this case you have to give the sequence number.

You may clear an aircraft or formation to take off, even if the preceding traffic has not passed the threshold of the opposite runway. In this case you have to give the sequence number. This procedure is only allowed when the visibility is more than 2000 meters.

T61, wind 150 degrees 10 knots, runway 12 cleared for takeoff as number two. Caution wake turbulence.

Only give the takeoff or landing clearance when;
1. the runway is free or in use by another military aircraft
2. the runway lights are appropriate
3. the required navigation equipment is working

Operational Air Traffic can be cleared for takeoff when the runway visual range (RVR) is less than 550 meters, even if low visibility procedures for take-off (LVPTO) is not in use.

If the runways in use by a vehicle or another military aircraft, the approaching traffic can be cleared for low approach with a minimum altitude of 200 feet from the aerodrome elevation. Traffic information is necessary.


The ATS-Unit may terminate radar separation for special-VFR-flights when the visibility is more than 3000 meters during day time.

The ATS-Unit may terminate radar separation for military aircraft in ATS airspace classification C during daytime in VMC-conditions when an VFR aircraft is performing aerobatics over the airfield whilst another military aircraft is departing or landing.

When the responsibility for separation is handed from ATCO to aircraft commanders, the term "MARSA" (Military Authority Assumes Responsibility for Separation of Aircraft) is used. MARSA is used by the aircraft commander when requesting for own separation.


BISON11, MARSA approved. 

When the aircraft commander is requesting to change the responsibility for separation back to ATCO, the term "SPLIT" is used. The air traffic controller shall get information of the radar split intentions. When the required separation is achieved, ATCO will confirm it by the phrase "Radar Contact".

ROKKA1, request radar split.

Radar split now. ROKKA1 and ROKKA2 continue present heading and maintain present altitude. ROKKA3, fly heading 090, descend to 3000 ft. 

ROKKA3, radar contact.

Wake turbulence separation

The tower controller does not apply wake turbulence separation between military aircraft, however a caution of wake turbulence separation shall be given when necessary.

Minimum obstacle clearance

The required minimum obstacle clearance for military aircraft can be reduced to 150 meters in the CTR and TMA. This procedure is only allowed at controlled airports, where the ATC Surveillance Minimum Altitude Chart (ATC SMAC) is published. The 150 meters obstacle clearance is achieved by subtracting 500 feet from the SMAC value. The aircraft is required to stay inside controlled airspace.

JEDI31, request vectoring on 500 feet obstacle clearance.

JEDI31, continue descent to 1900 feet. Vectoring on 500 feet obstacle clearance.

Transfer of control

When transferring a military aircraft or formation to Fighter Control, DO NOT state the frequency. A channel number may be given instead of the frequency. The correct channel number is given by Fighter Control.

HEART1, contact Fighter Control.

Contacting Fighter Control, HEART1. Push 1.

Formation flights

In the initial call to Air Traffic Control, the formation leader shall inform the number of aircraft involved.

Rovaniemi Radar, MASTER1, two-ship, one climbing passing 3500 feet. 

There are two main types of military formations. Standard- and non-standard formation. In a standard formation, aircraft are flying under IFR in which each aircraft will stay within 1 NM horizontally and 100 ft vertically of the lead aircraft. A non-standard formation is operating outside the limits of a standard formation.

A trail formation can be approved by ATC when requested by the formation leader. In a trail formation, the aircraft commanders are responsible for their own separation. The aimed separation between aircraft in the same trail formation is 2 NM. All aircraft in the formation shall use transponder mode 3 A/C with assigned squawk code. In case of a missed approach, the Air Traffic Controller shall reserve at least 1000 feet vertical separation for each aircraft in direction of the missed approach.

Fighter Control

There is one Fighter Control position within Helsinki FIR on the IVAO network.

Login ID Frequency Callsign Area of Responsibility
EFIN_MIL_CTR MRC1A 132.525 Fighter Control Priority areas of Finnish Defense Force 

Priority areas of Finnish Defense Force:

TSAs and TRAs Name of area block

* In priority areas within Jyväskylä (EFJY) CTA, the lower limit may be 2000 FT MSL, irrespective of CTA activity.

** Depending on traffic, the lower limit may be at lowest between FL95 and FL120. The upper limit is FL270 and, if the air traffic cituation permits, reservations to higher flight levels may be granted. In addition, the SAIMA area includes areas EFTSAN30 and EFTSAN31 without priority.

This Fighter Control unit is mainly responsible for military aircraft within the priority TSAs of the Finnish Defense Force and EFTRAH21, EFTRAH27 and EFTRAV28 (marked as yellow in the map below).


When the Fighter Control unit is online, the Area of Responsibility is automatically transferred to the military authorities. No prior airspace reservation is required. Coordination is required between Fighter Control and local ATS-Units / ACC-Units, to maintain separation to Civil Air Traffic and agree on entry-/exit points. Tactical points may be used, provided that coordinates are available to both ATS-Units and Fighter Control. Otherwise a inbound clearance to the actual TSA area may be agreed on.

You can find the joint brevity words for military missions here.

It is possible to agree with Helsinki FIR ATC-Units for additional airspace- or airport reservations.

Note that restrictions caused by military airspace reservations do not concern military, border guard, police, customs, maritime, or rescue and fire fighting, emergency medical service or ambulance flight authorities. The Fighter Control is responsible for maintaining separation within the reserved airspace blocks.

In case of a Quick Reaction Alert (QRA), Fighter Control and ATS-Units may agree, that, the Fighter Control will take responsibility outside of the airspace reservations. In this case the Fighter Control is responsible for maintaining separation between the military OAT and other air traffic within controlled airspace. The military aircraft is not allowed to be closer than 10 NM horizontally or 2000 ft vertically to the traffic controlled by the ATS-Unit.

When the mission is over, military aircraft shall be cleared to follow flight planned route, or other route coordinated with the ATS-Unit concerned. The traffic shall be transferred to the ATS-Unit not later than passing the reserved airspace border.

It is highly recommended to use the Fighter Control unit only when Helsinki ACC is online on the network.


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