The Massive Exercise is Underway
(Source: Swedish Armed Forces; issued Oct 25, 2018)
It starts in earnest today in Norway. Trident Juncture 18 is one of NATO’s biggest exercises and Sweden is participating with around 2,200 personnel. A total of more than 50,000 are taking part from the 29 NATO countries as well as partner countries Finland and Sweden.
Sweden’s participation in the exercise is based on the Swedish Declaration of Solidarity adopted by Parliament in 2009.
“This is Sweden’s unilateral declaration of solidarity, which is linked to neighbouring Nordic countries and EU Member States. We will not be passive in the event of a conflict or crisis”, says Major General Michael Claesson.
In this scenario it is in fact Norway that has been drawn into a conflict. The assumption is that Norway is being attacked from the east by an alliance of five countries. Sweden now has an opportunity to practice in a qualified context in order to increase its military capabilities.
“As we know, we have a political order as the basis to increase our capabilities, so it is valuable for us to participate. It is also important for the defence cooperation established with Finland and NATO”, says Michael Claesson.
For the seven Jas 39 Gripen and the two Visby corvettes participating in the exercise, it is also preparation for their inclusion in the NATO Response Force, NRF.
Rovaniemi Airbase Hosting NATO Warplanes
(Source: Finnish Broadcasting News, YLE; issued Oct 25, 2018)
A NATO-led multinational exercise is bringing US and Belgian military aircraft to the skies over Finnish Lapland.
Units of the Finnish Defence Forces are taking part in NATO-led multinational exercises hosted by Norway 25 October- 7 November. Finnish troops participating in the "Trident Juncture 18" exercise will be operating in Finland, Sweden and Norway. The main areas for aerial defense exercises are in Norwegian and Swedish airspace.
The Finnish Air Force's Lapland Air Command's main operating base at Rovaniemi will also be used by some of the aircraft participating in the exercise. Four Finnish Air Force F/A-18 Hornet fighters based in Rovaniemi and around 100 personnel there will be taking part. Guest aircraft include F-15C fighters and a KC-135 air-to-air refueling aircraft from the US Air Force, as well as Belgian Air Force F-16s.
A total of nine Finnish F/A-18 Hornets will participate in Trident Juncture 18. Finnish Air Force aircraft will be flying from both Rovaniemi and from the Norwegian Air Force base in Ørland.
Army and navy units
The Finnish Army contingent’s strength in the Trident Juncture 18 exercise is approximately 250 soldiers. An infantry company consisting of conscripts from the Pori Brigade will train as a part of a Swedish brigade. This exercise is a part of planned military cooperation between Finland and Sweden. An amphibious task unit of about 80 persons from the Uusimaa Brigade will be the Navy’s contingent in Trident Juncture in Norway.
A naval exercise, "Northern Coasts 18", is being held simultaneously around the Baltic Sea. This exercise is led and hosted by Finland.
Trident Juncture 18, which is bringing together 40,000 soldiers from 30 countries is a so-called high-visibility exercise for NATO, organized every three years. Finland, which is not a NATO member, is taking part as a partner nation in the exercise. According to the Finnish Defence Forces, the goal of Finland's participation is to strengthen national defence capability and improve international interoperability.