USAF Begins Sorties over Finland

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.

Swedish JAS-39 Gripens
Swedish JAS-39 Gripens

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.

F-16 Fighting Falcon from 31FW
F-16 Fighting Falcon from 31FW

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.

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Jonathan Wade, CD

Jonathan Wade is the director of the ‘The Sentinel Analytical Group’ and a decorated veteran of the Canadian Forces. Specialized in tactical, strategic, intelligence and geopolitics analysis, Jonathan has a fondness for technical details. His military experience brought him valuable insight on the realities of conflicts and war. A combat veteran of Afghanistan, Jonathan brings in in-theatre experience. Jonathan writes about Russia, Canada and Arctic.