NATO Allies and partners Finland and Sweden have had a week of intensive cooperation in the skies over Estonia in the just-concluded exercise Ramstein Alloy.
The regular NATO exercise focused on real-world scenarios faced by NATO’s Air Policing personnel deployed in the Baltic region.
The drills included air combat training, air-to-air refueling, and identification and escort of an aircraft suffering from communication loss.
The exercise was an opportunity to train together and improve the ability of NATO’s air forces to operate together as well as with partners. Crews and aircraft from Belgium, the Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Spain, Turkey, and the UK took part, alongside the Finnish and Swedish air forces.
Allies have practiceв air interoperability with Finland and Sweden amid growing worry over Russia’s threats. Russian President Vladimir Putin has framed NATO expansion as a threat to Russia, and Moscow warns both countries of serious military and political consequences if they become members.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24 triggered a surge in support for joining NATO in the two traditionally militarily non-aligned Nordic countries, with polls showing a majority of respondents willing to join the alliance in Finland and supporters of NATO in Sweden clearly outnumbering those against the idea.