Finland regions

Allied Air Command | Sweden practices national defense with support from partner Finland and NATO allies

RAMSTEIN, Germany – The Swedish Armed Forces conduct their annual air defense exercise Luftförsvarsövning (LFÖ 22) from 16 to 25 May integrating Finnish forces and with the support of NATO air forces.

Amid Sweden’s and Finland’s NATO membership application process, the annual Swedish national defense exercise LFÖ22 takes place in southern and central Sweden. Participating fighter jets, helicopters, air defense systems and ground forces practice tactics, techniques and procedures to maintain Swedish territorial integrity.

The Swedish Air Force develops our capabilities – towards a strong and tactically superior force

The Finnish Armed Forces have traditionally played a role in this exercise as they are integrated into the Swedish defense posture. For the first time, French Air Force Mirage-2000-5 fighters, currently stationed in Estonia, providing NATO air policing in the Baltic region, joined the exercise of the Swedish partner simulating the opposing air forces during the scenario.

“This contribution of NATO forces to a partner exercise underscores the close relationship between Allies and Finland and Sweden over the past decades,” said Brigadier General Christoph Pliet, Deputy Chief of Staff operations at Allied Air Command which oversees NATO air operations. “Particularly in the Baltic region, Allied Air Command has worked with both regional partners during countless exercises, training events and real-world situations in the area of ​​safeguarding our skies. This level of intensive cooperation underscores our collective commitment to the defense and security of the region,” added General Pliet.

A Finnish Air Force F-18 Hornet conducts an overflight with Swedish Air Force JAS 39-C Gripens: Archive Photo  Courtesy: Finnish Air Force
Finnish F-18 Hornets participating in the Swedish air defense exercise. Photo Courtesy: Finnish Air Force
French Air Force Mirage 2000-5 join the Swedish Partner's exercise for the first time: Photo Courtesy: Swedish Air Force 

“The Swedish Air Force develops our capabilities – towards a strong and tactically superior force. Together with the army and navy, we create a military problem to an adversary, preventing him from carrying out offensive operations against Swedish territory. We are doing this together with our Finnish friends from the Finnish Air Force. Together we are strengthening security and stabilizing our region,” said Major General Carl-Johan Edström, commander of the Swedish Air Force.” The Swedish national exercise, Air Defense Exercise 2022, confirms our capabilities to conduct air operations. With the integrated Swedish GBAD and the Finnish squadron in the air defense exercise, we are sending a credible signal that we have strong cooperation,” he added.

This is the second iteration of the Swedish national defense exercise LFÖ. It is a solid part of the Swedish Armed Forces training cycle. Finland contributed assets to this exercise, demonstrating the close relationship between the two NATO partners in territorial defence.