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Rovaniemi airbase hosting NATO warplanes

A NATO-led multinational exercise is bringing US and Belgian military aircraft to the skies over Finnish Lapland.

Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker ilmatankkauslentokone.
Among the planes operating from Rovaniemi is a Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker. Image: Ilmavoimat

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.

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