Arctic Challenge Exercise 2015 is a cross border training between the Nordic neighbors. It evolved from a Swedish exercise, Nordic Air Meet in 2009.
The training this year will be Europe’s largest jet exercise with more than 4,000 persons participating. Norway is lead nation as nearly a hundred fighter jets from nine nations gather for a joint training from May 25 to June 5, with up to 90 planes set to take the skies at the same time.
The exercise will take place in the High North, with activities divided between Bodoe in Norway, Rovaniemi in Finland and Kallax in Sweden. Soldiers from the UK, Switzerland, France, Germany, the USA and the Netherlands will join the Nordic neighbors.
“This is the second time the multinational training exercise is carried out, the first being in 2013. The plan forward is to continue every other year. Even though Norway, Sweden and Finland are the host nations, all of the participating countries contribute to the planning, which helps build our national and allied capability to lead air operations,” says Brigadier General Jan Ove Rygg, head of RNoAF’s National Air Operations Center (NAOC), and ACE 2015 exercise director.
He continues, “The aim is to exercise and train units in the orchestration and conduct of complex air operations, in close relations to NATO partners. The unique cross border air space makes ACE 2015 a one of a kind training ground for increasing interoperability and skills in all parts of the chain.”
“It gives us an opportunity to exercise with different aircraft types from large composite air forces…tactics and procedures can be practised in a realistic threat environment” said Major General Karl Engelbrektson in a statement in Swedish on the Swedish Armed Forces website.
Sweden has recently increased defense spending, although there has been strong criticism of the Social Democrat-led government’s strategy, with many leading military experts arguing that Sweden would still struggle to defend itself in the event of an attack.
On a press conference Engelbrektson told that it was vital for Sweden to hold “large complex exercises with other nations” to enhance the country’s operational capabilities.
Last weekend there was a confrontation between Russian air fighters type “Sukhoi Su-24” and the U.S. warship “USS Ross”.
Feature image (on top): An F-15C Eagle, assigned to the 493d Fighter Squadron, flies above Bodø Main Air Station, Norway Sept. 24, 2013. Approximately 30 aircraft deployed from RAFs Lakenheath and Mildenhall, to multiple locations in Norway, in support of the Arctic Challenge exercise 2013 (ACE-13). ACE-13 is a combined exercise with NATO and regional allies, which promotes continued interoperability between the U.S., Norway, Sweden, Finland the U.K. and NATO. (Official U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Lee Osberry/Released)
Nordic Cross Border Military Training, source: Norwegian Armed Forces Website