TALLINN --- AFX18, the annual large-scale exercise of the Swedish Armed Forces for practicing Sweden's territorial defense, is to begin this week and this year will also involve the Estonian air force, spokespeople at the headquarters of the Estonian defense forces said.
"This is the first join exercise between the air forces of Estonia and Sweden after the restoration of independence," commander of the Estonian Air Force Col. Riivo Valge said. "This is definitely an interesting challenge for both parties and an excellent opportunity to practice cooperation between different countries."
A squadron of eight JAS 39 Gripen fighters participating in the exercise will arrive at the Amari air base on May 22. Along with the aircraft, approximately 100 members of the Swedish Air Force will be stationed at Amari during the exercise. Flights will be conducted round the clock and the air battles of the exercise will be held in Swedish airspace, but fighters can also be seen flying across Estonia. Members of the Swedish Air Force at the exercise will practice conducting various air operations with partners.
Up to 3,500 uniformed people are to take part in AFX18 and all branches of the Swedish Armed Forces will be involved. Foreign countries participating in the exercise include Estonia, Finland, France and Spain.