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May 30, 2017

Finland, Norway and Sweden conduct multinational training exercise Arctic Challenge

The air forces of Finland, Norway and Sweden are jointly conducting the multinational training exercise, Arctic Challenge, in the airspace over the northern areas of the host countries.

The air forces of Finland, Norway and Sweden are jointly conducting the multinational training exercise, Arctic Challenge, in the airspace over the northern areas of the host countries.

The Finnish Air Force-led exercise seeks to increase interoperability capabilities between partner nations and allies.

In addition to the three host nations, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, the UK, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and the US, are participating in the exercise that commenced on 19 May and will conclude on 2 June.

More than 200 personnel and 12 F-15C Eagles from the 493rd Fighter Squadron (FS) at Royal Air Force (RAF) Lakenheath, UK, have been deployed to bases in Finland and Sweden for the exercise. Two KC-135 Stratotankers and over 30 personnel from the 351st Air Refueling Squadron at RAF Mildenhall, UK, have also been employed there.

"These practice opportunities and experiences allow our pilots and maintainers to work together side-by-side with our partners and allies to plan, execute and debrief some very complex missions."

As part of the exercise, participating personnel will conduct live-flying events to train on offensive and defensive air combat operations.

Participants will also practice evaluating aircraft, personnel and weapons capabilities, as well as mobilising and training in multinational operations.

493rd FS commander lieutenant colonel Jason Zumwalt said: "These practice opportunities and experiences allow our pilots and maintainers to work together side-by-side with our partners and allies to plan, execute and debrief some very complex missions. That allows us to see how we can better work together in the future."

The exercise will involve more than 100 aircraft, which include multi-role fighters, transport and liaison aircraft, aerial refuelling tankers, airborne warning and control system aircraft, and transport and search-and-rescue helicopters.


Image: An F-15E Strike Eagle from Royal Air Force Lakenheath, UK, receives fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker. Photo: courtesy of the US Air Force photo/technical sergeant David Dobrydney.

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