Norwegian F-16s in a formation during ACE 17
Norwegian F-16s in a formation during ACE 17

Scandinavian Arctic Challenge Exercise 2021 (ACE21) Offers Great Air Power Training

Hosted by Norway, the multinational live-fly Arctic Challenge Exercise 2021 (ACE21) will take place in training areas in Norway, Finland and Sweden from June 7 to 18, 2021. The three Nordic Air Forces, Ally Norway and Partners Finland and Sweden, will host Allied air detachments from Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom as well as NATO Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft. Exercise flying activities will take place from Bodø and Ørland in Norway, Kallax in Sweden and Rovaniemi in Finland, and some detachments will participate from their home bases in Europe.

The Norwegian F-35s will participate for the first time ACE 21. (Photo by Mathias Charman/ /Allied Air Command Public Affairs Office)

The objective of the exercise is to train participating air forces to conduct dissimilar aircraft combat in large composite air operations (COMAO) safely and effectively. The exercise aims to develop air combat techniques, tactics and procedures for aircraft from Allies and Partners. The deployment of participating detachments in all three host countries enhanced expeditionary and host nation support arrangements. Missions will be flown crossing from one country into another. This will allow participants and hosts to practice coordination and hand-over skills.

Finnish F-18s will be flying out of Lapland Air Command’s Rovaniemi Air Base. (Photo Joni Malkamäki/Allied Air Command Public Affairs Office)

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. Seven out of eight Arctic nations are NATO members or Enhanced Opportunity Partners and hold a wealth of experience operating in the High North.

Ten German Eurofighters will be deployed at Rovaniemi Air Base participating in training activities during ACE21. (Photo by Anne Torvinen/Allied Air Command Public Affairs Office)

Since 2008, Finland, Norway and Sweden have conducted the exercise every other year under the Nordic cooperation. This exercise has been conducted every other year since 2013 and is not associated with any current events. They have been integrating Allied air forces into the challenging training activities. Norway is in the lead for ACE21, and for the first time, Denmark has contributed to the planning of the exercise. Ensuring coordination with Arctic allies, regional partners, and the Joint Force is critical.

Norwegian F-16s in a formation during ACE 17. (Photo by Joni Malkamäki/Allied Air Command Public Affairs Office)