(Source: Finnish Air Force; issued Oct 07, 2018)
Two US Air Force KC-135 tankers and a Belgian Air Force F-16 fighter at the Finnish Air Force’s base at Rovaniemi. These and other aircraft are being supported by Finland as they take part in NATO’s Trident Juncture exercise. (FAF photo)
During Trident Juncture 18, Lapland Air Command has provided host nation support to the Belgian and U.S. air force units deployed to Rovaniemi Air Base. Correspondingly, Finnish F/A-18s deployed to Örland Air Base in Norway have received support from the Royal Norwegian Air Force.

At Rovaniemi Air Base, Finnish Air Force Major Mika Mattila is in charge of host nation support. According to him, all the practical arrangements have required careful long-term planning. For example, it has been necessary to agree how much foreign air force units pay for fuel, food as well as other goods and services.

The exercise would not be possible without functioning fuel logistics. Lapland Air Command and Finnish Defence Forces Logistics Command are responsible for having the right amount of jet fuel available in the right place at the right time.

Four United States Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker aerial refueling aircraft operating out of Rovaniemi play an important role in supporting the air operations of Trident Juncture 18. However, aerial refueling aircraft would be useless without a seamless fuel logistics chain. At Rovaniemi Air Base, Lapland Air Command’s active-duty personnel and conscripts make sure that the aircraft can take off with their tanks full of fuel.

Food supply is another important element of host nation support. During Trident Juncture 18, the canteen of Fighter Squadron 11 has had an international atmosphere. Tasty, healthy and nutritious food keeps airmen going during the long exercise days. Lunch and dinner breaks are also good opportunities to relax for a while.

Naturally, host nation support includes also providing visiting air force units with necessary facilities. The use of hangars and offices has to be planned carefully so that there is enough room for all the personnel participating in the exercise. To enhance coordination, all the foreign air force units deployed to Rovaniemi Air Base have a Finnish liaison officer, who instructs and helps the visitors with practical matters.

All in all, host nation support consists of all the day-to-day arrangements that enable the safe execution of Trident Juncture 18. Thanks to the experience, professionalism and problem-solving skills of Lapland Air Command personnel, host nation support has been successful.

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