Finnish Air force to take part in joint Finnish-Swedish-US military exercises

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President Sauli Niinistö. (Yle)
President Sauli Niinistö. (Yle)
Finland will participate in air force exercises with the U.S. and Sweden in March, President Sauli Niinistö has announced.

The exercises are scheduled to take place over Finnish and Swedish airspace, as well as in international airspace over the Baltic Sea. A fleet of US F-16 jet fighters will also take part in the training.

Finland received a written invitation in late January to participate in joint US-Estonian exercises in Estonia, but Finnish planes will not join the exercises in Estonian air space. The president underscored that the exercises based out of Estonia are designed to fulfil NATO requirements for the Estonian airbase. There was initial confusion about the nature of these exercises, and from where exactly the invitation had come, which led to heated debate in Finland.

The decision to participate in the joint Finnish-Swedish-US air force exercises was reached by the president and government’s foreign security policy committee on Friday. The first two weeks of the exercises will be with the US, and Sweden will participate in the third week. The exercises are scheduled to begin at the end of March.

The American fleet of planes will be based in Ämari of Estonia’s north coast, while Finnish and Swedish planes will be flying from their own home bases.

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