Largest air exercise since the 90ies

Two F-16 jet fighters and one Orion surveillance aircraft from the Norwegian Air Force.

Some 80 jet fighters from Bodø, Ørland, Rovaniemi and Luleå will together with UK and US Air Forces and cross the skies of the Barents Region when the Arctic Challenge Exercise starts Monday.


This and next week’s air force exercise is part of the new increased military cooperation between Finland, Sweden and Norway with the goal to enhance Nordic cooperation under NORDEFCO. 

The Nordic group of aircrafts consists of 10 F-18 Hornet fighters from Rovaniemi air base in Finnish Lapland, 10 F-16 fighters from Bodø and Ørland airbases in Norway and 22 JAS 39 Gripens from Kallax airbase outside Luleå in Sweden. 

Nearly 30 F-15 fighters and one to two air refueling tankers from US Air Forces in Europe participates. The same does six Eurofighter Typhoons from the British Air Force. The United States and Great Britan will act in roles of training partners. 

The aim of the exercise, which will last till September 27th, is to develop capabilities for combined operations.

The training area for flights will mainly be over northern Sweden, in the area in the vicinity to Bodø in northern Norway and northwestern corner of Finnish Lapland. 

NORDEFCO, the Nordic defense cooperation, has the aim to combine operations between the three countries at a cost-effective training and service program. Other is also to train service personnel for command and control, aircraft maintenance and ground support duties in combined operations.