Finnish Hornets, Swedish Gripens train together in defense, attack activities

Finnish Hornet Swedish Gripen exercise
Finnish Hornets, Swedish Gripens train together.

On March 31, the Finnish and Swedish Air Forces conducted joint Cross Border Training (CBT) in northern Sweden. The exercise involved two Finnish Hornet fighters from Rovaniemi Air Base and two JAS-39 Gripen fighters from Kallax Air Base which conducted offensive counterair (OCA) and defensive counterair (DCA) activities.

OCA missions plan to suppress enemy air power primarily through attacking ground-based facilities, such as airbases, while DCAs focus on identifying and destroying airborne threats invading friendly airspace.

"Cost-effective CBT collaboration prompts participants to plan and implement flight operations together and learn best practices from others. On the 2021 side we have been carrying out CBT rounds for seven weeks," said the commander of Lapland Flight 11, Lt. Col. Tomi Iikkanen.

Finnish Hornet Swedish Gripen exercise

Joint activities of this type are usual for the Lapland fighter squadrons as the Finnish, Swedish and Norwegian air forces practice regularly train together in the northern side of the countries.

In recent years, the security of the nations around the Baltic Sea has been severely tested by Russian aircraft incursions into the area. This potential threat has led the Scandinavian nations to strengthen their military cooperation.

Such military collaboration could also benefit the Swedish aerospace industry. Finland is in the midst of replacing its Hornet fighters (HX Fighter Program) and the Swedish-made Gripen combat aircraft is one of the favorite candidates. According to the Swedish defense minister, the growing need for cooperation between the two nations against Moscow's aggressive moves is one of the reasons why Stockholm should select Gripen. In the event of a potential Russian attack, the air forces of Finland and Sweden may need to deploy their aircraft to a common airbase and the same type would favor this operation.

Written by Matteo Sanzani
Source, Images: Finnish Air Force

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