RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany --- Defense officials from four Nordic countries signed a letter of intent alongside Gen. Tod D. Wolters, U.S. Air Forces in Europe Air Forces Africa commander, Oct. 16, 2017, in a formal acknowledgment that opens doors to the development of a European flag-level exercise.
Signing officials included Nordic Air Chiefs from the Royal Danish Air Force, Finnish Defense Forces, Royal Norwegian Air Force and Swedish Armed Forces.
Last year, Nordic Defense ministers conversed on the possibilities of developing the Arctic Challenge Exercise, or ACE, into a full-spectrum air exercise that would include wider international participation and coordination.
Transitioning ACE into a high quality, flag-level exercise seeks to parallel the success of other flag-designator exercises such as Red Flag at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, and Blue Flag at Hurlburt Field, Florida.
Historically, flag-level exercises have provided vital, scenario-based training in realistic environments to best prepare fighters for enemy defensive systems. Bringing a European-based flag exercise will serve to amplify defense training and interoperability between countries across key High North and Baltic Sea regions.
The U.S. Air Force will support development by leveraging individual expertise and encouraging widest participation while guiding discussions about command and control, secure communications, information sharing, instrumented scoring and scenario development.