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Air Force Featured Stories

Arctic Challenge Exercise 21: Strengthening Nordic Relationships

  • Published
  • By U.S. Air Forces in Europe - Air Forces Africa Public Affairs

U.S. Air Force Reserve KC-135 Stratotankers and Airmen assigned to the 459th Air Refueling Wing, Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, arrived at Rovaniemi Air Base June 2 to support Arctic Challenge Exercise 21, a Royal Norwegian Air Force-led exercise, scheduled to take place in the Nordic countries of Sweden, Finland, and Norway.

In addition, U.S. Air Force KC-135s and Airmen assigned to the 100th Air Refueling Wing, Royal Air Force Mildenhall, United Kingdom, will support the exercise from their home station. U.S. Air Force F-16C and F-16D Fighting Falcons and Airmen assigned to the 52nd Fighter Wing, Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany will also participate from Kallax, Sweden. Airmen assigned to the 435th Contingency Response Group, Ramstein AB, Germany, and the Multinational Aircrew Live-synthetic-blended Training System, assigned to U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa Warrior Preparation Center, 19th Electronic Warfare Squadron, are also scheduled to support from Kallax, Sweden.

Exercises like ACE 21 build interoperability with allies and partners to demonstrate capability and convey a strong deterrent message. During the exercise, U.S., allied and partner nations will exercise the ability to plan, execute and evaluate large force employments in a multinational air operation.

“Arctic Challenge is a premiere exercise that strengthens relationships and builds security as we train with our Nordic partners,” said Gen. Jeff Harrigian, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa commander.

ACE 21 provides participating units the ability to train with allies and partners in all possible aspects of air operations. Units will focus on offensive and defensive scenarios consisting of air-to-air and air-to-ground missions. Along with Norway and the U.S., Swedish, Finnish, Danish, Dutch, German, NATO and U.K. aircraft are scheduled to participate in the exercise.

This exercise has been conducted every other year since 2013 and is not associated with any current events.

Ensuring coordination with Arctic allies, regional partners and the joint force is critical. Seven out of eight Arctic nations are NATO members or Enhanced Opportunity Partners and hold a wealth of experience operating in the High North.