The Swedish, Finnish and Royal Norwegian Air Forces will host the fourth multinational Arctic Challenge Exercise from 22 May to 4 June 2019.
The NORDEFCO nations’ air forces organise joint air combat Cross Border Training (CBT) flight missions deployed from the participating nations’ northern home air bases almost on a weekly basis.
The Arctic Challenge Exercise (ACE) 19 is among Europe's largest live air exercises. More than one hundred aircraft from nine nations’ defence forces will take part in the exercise. In addition to multi-role fighters, transport and liaison aircraft, aerial refuelling tankers, airborne warning and control system aircraft, as well as transport and search & rescue helicopters will be seen in the exercise.
Flying will be conducted from Monday to Friday in two to three daily waves from 9 am to 6 pm Finland time (from 8 to 5 Norway and Sweden time). Flight activities will also be conducted on Ascension Day. The missions will be carried out in the areas extending over the three nations' northern regions. The ACE 19 host bases are located in Rovaniemi in Finland, Kallax in Sweden and Bodø and Ørland in Norway.
This year the exercise will be commanded by the Swedish Air Force.
Apart from the host nations, ACE 19 will see participation by the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Denmark, the United States, and NATO with its AWACS aircraft.
The exercises conducted every second year since 2013 form part of the NORDEFCO cooperation. The NORDEFCO nations’ air forces organise joint air combat Cross Border Training (CBT) flight missions deployed from the participating nations’ northern home air bases almost on a weekly basis. The cost-effective implementation pattern of combined exercises can also be applied to large-force air exercises.
The international aims of the exercise are to train participating units to collaborate in combined air operations, practise safe and effective dissimilar aircraft combat training, improve interoperability by adopting NATO procedures and providing host nation support, and carry out a cost-effective exercise using the Cross-Border Training concept.
The national objectives include developing fighter tactics and participants’ competencies in various duties of air operations and dissimilar aircraft combat training, improving interoperability in combined air operations under challenging conditions as well as practising the host nation support role at the Rovaniemi Air Base.
F21 Commander of the Swedish Air Force Colonel Claes Isoz will assume the role of Exercise Director. The Deputy Exercise Directors will be Commander of the Royal Norwegian Air Force Bodö Air Base, Colonel Vegard Bøthun, and Commander of the Finnish Air Force Lapland Air Command, Colonel Antti Koskela, who will also serve as the national host for the exercise in Finland.
Conscripts serving at Rovaniemi Air Base will participate in the exercise fulfilling their normal daily duties. Reservists will not be involved in the exercise.
The ACE 19 website of FINAF is available at www.ilmavoimat.fi/en/ace19-en