US-Finland to hold air exercises in May

Four U.S. Air Force F-15 aircraft fly over Nellis Air Force Base  in Las Vegas, Nevada in 2006. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Four U.S. Air Force F-15 aircraft fly over Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas, Nevada in 2006. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
The US military will bring several F-15C fighter jets to Finland for joint exercises with the country’s military in May, according to Air Force Command Finland.

A training session of US military aircraft of this scale has not previously taken place in Finland.

Members of the US Oregon Air National Guard will travel to the Karelian Air Command in Rissala, Finland for joint air exercises for two weeks at the beginning of May.

The Oregon Air National Guard has preliminary plans to use between six and eight unarmed McDonnell Douglas F-15C Eagle tactical fighter jets for the programme, which will include education and training operations.

The air exercises will take place in the skies over eastern Finland and Lapland starting at the beginning of May.

Specialist at the Finnish Department of Defence, Mika Varvikko said plans are still underway and that the exercises could also include the participation of Sweden and Norway.

Close cooperation

Varvikko says that the cooperation between the Finnish and US militaries, and in particular the air forces of the two nations is close.

“Cooperation with the US is close and our cooperation on a practical level has been and will continue to remain tight,” Varvikko said.

While this will be the first time the air forces of the US and Finland cooperate on such a large scale, the planned exercises are small by US standards.

Several sources told Yle that between 70 to 100 Americans would be participating in May. The Karelian Air Command in Rissala is located in eastern Finland, situated between the cities of Joensuu and Kuopio.

Units of the Oregon Air National Guard have deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, among others.

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