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Gripen pilot flying in close formation.

Arctic Challenge 2021 Kicks Off

2 min read

Sweden, Finland and Norway are carrying out the fifth Arctic Challenge Exercise. The exercise falls within the framework of the Nordic co-operation and Cross-border agreement that exists between the three countries.

The exercise is being conducted from four different air bases - Norrbotten's air wing in Luleå (Sweden), Bodö air base (Bodø main airport) and Örland air base (Ørland airport) in Norway, and Lapland air wing (Lapin lennosto) in Rovaniemi, Finland.

On an average week day of the exercise, two flight passes are carried out - morning and afternoon. The morning flights happen within the individual borders of the host countries. The afternoon flights, however, are organised at one place; in the unique training areas dedicated to the exercise.

Because of the pandemic, the number of participants in this year’s Arctic Challenge is lesser than that of previous years. However, a lot of planning has gone behind the preparations of the exercise and Colonel Claes Isoz, one of the exercise leaders, expects ACE 2021 to be at least as high quality as ACE 2019. “ACE is a very important exercise for all participating nations and therefore we have chosen to adjust instead of cancelling it this year. ACE not only strengthens the national capability in each country, it also leads to an increased security in the North Calotte,” he says.

During the exercise, the participating pilots coordinate with at least 30 aircraft from seven other countries. Every flight pass is followed by a careful evaluation of the pilot's actions along with that of the entire process. Aerial refuelling, air-to-ground, and air-to-sea missions are also a part of the exercise.

The exercise, which started on the 7th June, will be carried out till 18th June.

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