Finnish Air Force to start Ruska 21 exercise in October

The Finnish Air Force will organize the Ruska 21 air operation exercise from October 4 to October 9. 50 aircraft and about 3,300 people from all over Finland will take part in the year's main war exercise in the defense branch. The Swedish Air Force is also involved in the exercise.

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Finnish Air Force to start Ruska 21 exercise in October 50 aircraft and about 3,300 people from all over Finland will take part in the year's main war exercise in the defense branch (Picture source: Ilmavoimat)

Ruska 21 is the Finnish Air Force's most significant exercise in 2021, the aim of which is to maintain and develop Finland's air defense readiness. All Air Force units are involved in an exercise that is visible and heard in much of the country. This year, Ruska's focus is on training reservists, staff and conscripts at Karelia and Satakunta airports.

The Ruska 21 exercise package involves a total of about 3,300 people, of whom 1,500 are reservists. The aircraft participating in the exercise are divided into a group that trains air defense missions and describes the training opponent. In accordance with the Air Force's mobile combat style, the aircraft are based on several aerodromes across Finland.

- The Air Force monitors and secures Finnish airspace 24/7 all year round. In the Ruska 21 exercise, the main staff, reservists and conscripts practice their duties in exceptional circumstances in practice. Exercises such as Ruska, which include all elements of an air operation, maintain and develop the Air Force's readiness to carry out demanding air operations using an extensive base network. These exercises are a team game at its best, emphasizes Colonel Timo Herranen , the director of the exercise, Air Force Operations Manager .

Ruska 21 is part of the defense co-operation between Finland and Sweden. From the Swedish Air Force, JAS 39C / D Gripen multipurpose fighters and the control and combat command Argus will take part in the exercise. The Swedish flight departments rely on Pirkkala and the Luleå base in Sweden.

A total of about 50 aircraft will participate in the exercise, most of them F / A-18 Hornet multipurpose fighters. In addition to the Hornets, there are Hawk jet training aircraft, Air Force transport and communication equipment, the NH90 transport helicopter of the Air Force and the Dornier Do 228 surveillance aircraft of the Finnish Border Guard. The anti-aircraft units participating in the exercise, on the other hand, operate at the Pirkkala base and the Lohtaja training area.

The air operations of the Ruska 21 exercise involve flight operations at low flight altitudes as well as supersonic flights flying at an altitude of 10 kilometers above the mainland. Noise abatement flight procedures shall be followed in the vicinity of bases whenever possible. The exercise uses flares and shreds that are part of the aircraft's self-defense systems. Torches can appear in the sky momentarily as bright light phenomena and shredding can cause false weather radar observations.

The main bases of the group practicing air defense missions are Rissala and Pirkkala. During the exercise, the F / A-18 Hornet fighters of the defensive force will also rely on the Savonlinna, Varkaus, Kokkola-Pietarsaari, Seinäjoki and Kajaani airports and the Vieremä road base in accordance with the Air Force's mobile combat style. In addition, the Air Force's transport and communication planes use Pori Airport. The group describing the training opponent, on the other hand, operates from Rovaniemi, Oulu and Luleå, Sweden.

The flight operations of the Ruska 21 exercise will start on October 4. at 12 noon and ending at 9.10. by 3 p.m. Monday and Tuesday 4. ‒ 5.10. flight operations will end in the evenings at 10 pm Wednesday to Saturday 6. ‒ 9.10. there is flight activity at all times of the day.