Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Europe’s largest aviation drills kick off near Russian border

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The Air Forces of Finland, Norway and Sweden today launched the third edition of multinational Arctic Challenge exercise.

That was reported by www.forsvarsmakten.se.

More than one hundred aircraft from eleven nations participates in the air exercise carried out in the airspace over the northern areas of the host countries.


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This year’s Arctic Challenge Exercise (ACE 17) is the third of its kind that Finland, Norway and Sweden have organised together. The exercise conducted every second year since 2013 is this time led by the Finnish Air Force that is responsible for planning and direction of the training event.

Arctic Challenge exercises are part of Cross Border Training (CBT) started in 2009 between Finland, Norway and Sweden. The Air Forces of these nations conduct on almost a weekly basis combined air combat training missions that are flown from their northern home bases. The cost-effective implementation pattern of combined exercises can also be applied to large-force air exercises.

The ACE17 host bases are located in Bodø in Norway, Luleå in Sweden, and Rovaniemi in Finland. Flying is conducted from Monday to Friday in two to three daily waves from 9 till 18 Finland time (from 8 till 17 Norway and Sweden time).  Flight missions are carried out mainly in the areas extending over the three nations’ northern regions (see Map of Area of Operation).

Also the training areas of Rovajärvi in Finland, Vidsel in Sweden and Setermoen in Norway are available.  Simultaneously with ACE17, the Finnish Defence Forces Army North 17 exercise is being conducted at Rovajärvi which will enable the exercise units to have the benefit of ACE17 flight missions directed into this area to their training. In addition, aircraft will operate in Lohtaja training area in Finland where, at the same time, the Finnish Defence Forces Air Defence Exercise 1/17 is going on.

Around ninety aircraft at most may participate simultaneously in individual waves in ACE17. Exercise sorties will involve flying at low altitudes and they may also include supersonic flying. Aircraft will deploy flare countermeasures that can be seen as bright spots of light in the sky.

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Executive Editor

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