Arctic Challenge 17 Multinational Training Exercise takes off

World Aviation Defense & Security News - Sweden, Finland & Norway
Arctic Challenge 17 Multinational Training Exercise takes off
The Air Forces of Finland, Norway and Sweden today launched the third edition of multinational Arctic Challenge exercise. Over one hundred aircraft and thousands of personnel from eleven nations are participating in the exercise. They will mainly be located at Bodø in Norway, Luleå in Sweden and Rovaniemi in Finland, each of which will see dozens of aircraft at its base, the Finnish Air Force said.
Two French Air Force Rafale fighter jets landing in Finland for ACE 17
(Credit: Finnish Air Force / Minna a pie)
This year's Arctic Challenge Exercise (ACE 17) is the third of its kind that Finland, Norway and Sweden have organised together. The exercise conducted every second year since 2013 is this time led by the Finnish Air Force that is responsible for planning and direction of the training event to be carried out in the airspace over the northern areas of the host countries.

Arctic Challenge exercises are part of the Nordic Defence Cooperation (NORDEFCO) between Finland, Norway and Sweden. The Air Forces of these nations conduct Cross Border Training (CBT) on almost a weekly basis consisting of combined air combat training missions that are flown from their northern home bases. The cost-effective implementation pattern of combined exercises can also be applied to large-force air exercises.

The scenario of the exercise is to improve capability of multinational troops to participate in combined air operations for the purposes of crisis management. ACE 17 provides the opportunity to train the large-scale planning and conducting of air operations in a real-like operating environment that involves a wide range of aircraft and forces of modern air warfare.

Colonel Petteri Seppälä, Exercise Director, from the Air Operations Centre of the Air Force Command Finland says that ACE 17 is a unique live air exercise on a world scale because it has been planned, prepared and executed in close cooperation between the three nations’ air forces.

ACE 17 is gathering forces from Finland, Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands, Belgium, Great Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Switzerland and the United States.

In addition to multi-role fighters, transport and liaison aircraft, aerial refuelling tankers, electronic warfare aircraft, airborne warning and control system aircraft, transport and search and rescue helicopters accompanied by ground troops and ground-based air defence (GBAD) units are participating in the exercise. The flight operations are supported by aircraft from Cobham plc, Great Britain. Aircraft that are being seen for the first time in the ACE are American B-52H bombers. They are scheduled to take part in one mission at the end of the exercise. They will not land at the Nordic exercise bases.

The flight detachments participating in the exercise are operating from Bodø in Norway, Luleå in Sweden and Rovaniemi in Finland as shown below. Part of exercise aircraft will be deployed from their home bases beyond the actual training area. Subsequent changes in aircraft types and numbers are possible.