Nordic fighter jet exercises underway inside Arctic Circle

A Swedish Air Force’s JAS 39 Gripen jet fighter in 2011. (Patric Soderstrom/AP)
A file photo of a Swedish Air Force JAS 39 Gripen one of the jets being used during this week’s Arctic exercise. (Patric Soderstrom/AP)

Flying out from Rovaniemi Air Base, the Norwegian, Finnish and Swedish pilots will conduct combat training with a variety of different fighter types.

Exercise Arctic Fighter Meet 21 is part of the Nordic defence cooperation and takes place just two weeks before Russian armed forces launches the large-scale Zapad-21 (West 21) exercise.

With flights from August 30 to September 3, the Nordic fighter jets will work together in the skies over Lapland, Finland’s northernmost region.

“During the exercise, the fighters will deploy flares, which may be seen as momentary bright spots of light in the sky,” the Finnish Air Forces informs.

Sweden participates with JAS 39 Gripen from Kallax Air Base in Luleå, while Norwegian F-16s fly from Bodø take part. Finland’s Air Force operates the F/A-18 and Hawk jet trainers.

Falcon Deploy

Simultaneously as the Nordic exercise is happening from Rovaniemi will Norway’s new F-35 fighter jets from September 1 for the first time drill Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) from Evenes airport in northern Norway.

Named Falcon Deploy, the exercise that includes eight F-35 jets will go on for a two-weeks period, the Norwegian Air Force informs. From January 1 next year, a pair of F-35 will be permanently deployed for QRA-missions at Evenes airport. The fighter jets are scrambled when Russian military planes are flying near Norwegian areas of interest in the north.

Located north of the Arctic Circle, Evenes is also the airport where Norway’s new fleet of P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft will be based.

Related stories from around the North: 

Canada: Potential Canadian Northern Corridor would present unique security challenges and opportunities, say researchers, Eye on the Arctic

China: China, Russia singled out in new U.S. Arctic defense strategy, Eye on the Arctic

Iceland: Nordics should aim for common approach to China’s Arctic involvement says report, Eye on the Arctic

Russia: National security chief says Russia must bolster its Arctic military, The Independent Barents Observer

United States:  Putin, Biden talk Northern Sea Route, The Independent Barents Observer

Thomas Nilsen, The Independent Barents Observer

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

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