Saturday, 28 March 2015

US - Finnish - Swedish joint training sorties begin

On Tuesday this week Finnish Air Force fighters began training with planes from the Swedish Air Force and the 510th Fighter Squadron of the United States Air Forces in Europe. Running until April 1st, the exercise is primarily taking place in Finland's airspace over the Bothnian Sea and in international airspace.

Finland is assigning two to four F/A-18 Hornet multirole fighters to the training sorties while the US is operating with F-16 Fighting Falcons and Sweden with JAS-39 Gripens. It is also possible that a USAF KC-135 Stratotanker refuelling aircraft flying out of Great Britain will take part in the training exercise.

Training missions between the Finnish Air Force and USAFE will be conducted from the 24th to the 26th and on the 30th. Training involving aircraft from all three countries is scheduled for the 31st of this month and April 1st.

The Finnish and Swedish fighters will take part in waves from their home bases and the US fighters from Ă„mari Air Base in Harjumaa, Estonia. (Not very far from the Russian borders) The Finnish Hornets operate either from Satakunta Air Command in Pirkkala or Karelia Air Command in Rissala. Training sorties will be flown in the daytime.

The fighters will meet within the designated training area and conduct pre-planned scenarios. The aircraft will not carry weapons.

However this sort of manouver won't be ignored by Finland's and Estonia´s mighty neighbour Russia. The situation is tense, to say the least and just recently Russia 
threatened to aim nuclear missiles at Danish warships if it joins NATO shield.

So far Russia has not given any official statement on this joint training so close to 

its borders.