The United States Air Force F-16s from the 510th Fighter Squadron, currently based in Estonia, has begun today joint training with Finnish and Swedish pilots.
The training will take part until April 1 and it will mostly take place in the Finnish airspace over the Finnish town of Pori, the Baltic Bothnian Sea and in international airspace.
The three countries are deploying fighter aircrafts and 1 aerial refueling aircraft:
- USAF – F-16 Fighting Falcons + 1 KC-135 Stratotanker
- Finnish Air Force – F/A-18 Hornets
- Swedish Air Force – JAS-39 Gripens
The KC-135 Stratotanker will most likely fly from Great Britain to conduct in-air refuelling over Finnish airspace.
The fighters will fly from their respective airbases and will meet over the designated training area. During the exercise, the fighter aircrafts will not carry any weapons.
The American F-16s and Finnish F/A-18 Hornets will conduct training from March 24th to 26th and on March 30th. The Swedish JAS-39 Gripens will join the training on March 31st and April 1st.
The training comes at a critical time where Finland is considering joining NATO. Cooperation between Finland and NATO has been steadily growing.