Arctic Sweden to welcome thousands of international troops for Northern Wind exercise

A soldier of the British Army during NATO’s Trident Juncture exercise, in Brydalen, Norway, on October 31, 2018. In March, 10,000 troops, including Norwegian, Finnish, British and American troops will take part in the Northern Wind military exercise in Norrbotten, Arctic Sweden. (Leon Neal/Getty Images)
Winter warfare capabilities are in focus when Northern Wind kicks off in Norrbotten in March.

The exercise takes place in Sweden’s northeastern area where a possible land attack from the Soviet Union was expected to come during the Cold War. From the border area to Finland at Haparanda towards Överkalix and Boden north of Luleå.

A total of 10,000 personnel are participating, of which about 7,000 are foreigners.

Norway will join with about 4,500 soldiers, while Finland sends 1,500. Both Great Britain and the United States are participating with soldiers and aircraft.

Boosting defence cooperation

The exercise and joint training is part of the development of defense cooperation between Finland and Sweden and never before has such substantial exercise been conducted between the two armies so far, the Finnish Army informs (in Finnish).

About 500 military vehicles from four of Finland’s brigades will cross the border from Tornio to Haparanda as the exercise happens during the week from March 18 to 27. The four brigades are the Armoured Brigade, the Jaeger Brigade from Sodankylä and Rovaniemi, the Kainuu Brigade and the Pori Brigade.

Norway sends its only army brigade from Bardu in Troms (Arctic), including armored vehicles and some support units and helicopters, newspaper Aftenposten reports (in Norwegian). The Norwegians will move in to the exercise area via the border-crossing road from Narvik via Kiruna.

Last autumn, Sweden and Finland participated in the large-scale Trident Juncture NATO exercise in southern Norway.

The Swedish 192nd Mechanized Battalion from the Norrbotten Regiment is the largest Swedish contribution to the exercise with its 800 soldiers.

Swedish Armed Forces say the exercise will develop the ability to give support to and receive support from other nations.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Canada, U.S. must do more to check Russian military in the Arctic, says NORAD chief, CBC News

Finland: Finnish Defence Minister tells party leaders shrinking fighter fleet would be “irresponsible”, Yle News

Iceland: Iceland talks Arctic, Trump’s ditching of climate accord, with U.S. Secretary of State, Eye on the Arctic

Norway: Russian jets led mock attack on Arctic Norway radar, intel director says, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Russia accuses Norway of northern military buildup, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Faced with Trump’s wavering support for NATO, Nordic nations stick together, The Independent Barents Observer

United States: U.S. experts call for ‘vigilance’ on Russian military buildup in Arctic, Alaska Public Media

Thomas Nilsen, The Independent Barents Observer

For more news from the Barents region visit The Independent Barents Observer.

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