Norway was lead nation for over 4,000 personnel and nearly a hundred fighter jets from nine nations. They gathered for a joint training exercise, Arctic Challenge, from 25 May to 5 June 2015.
Arctic Challenge Exercise 2015 (ACE 2015) evolved from a Swedish exercise, Nordic Air Meet, and cross-border training between the Nordic neighbours Sweden and Finland back in 2009. This year's exercise took place in the High North, with the activity being divided between Bodø in Norway, Rovaniemi in Finland, and Kallax in Sweden.
New exercises coming up
This was the second time the multinational training exercise was carried out, the first being in 2013. The plan is to continue every other year.
The aim is to exercise and train units to plan and conduct complex air operations in close relations to NATO partners. The unique cross-border air space makes ACE a one of a kind training ground for increasing interoperability and skills in all parts of the chain.
Full activity in the air
The exercise consisted of a wide range of scenario drills and cooperation between the three host bases, with large operational areas available both in Norway and surrounding the other main bases.
In addition to the well-known F-16, Nordic air space was filled with F-18, Hawk T1, Tornado GR4, Mirage 2000, Eurofighter Typhoon, and Jas 39 Gripen, among others. Furthermore, a number of NATO AWACS jets, transportation jets and tankers, and DA-20 Jet Falcons all had supporting roles.