Two Royal Norwegian Air Force F-16s in action in the days ahead of the start of ACE15 (Image © Nils P. Skipnes / Forsvaret)

Arctic Challenge Exercise 2015 kicks off

One of the largest military exercises of Europe kicked off on 25 May 2015. A third of the airspace of Sweden and giant areas – air, sea and ground – of the north of Finland and Norway serve as a training area for the Arctic Challenge Exercise 2015, or ACE15, lasting until 5 June 2015. Call it the Scandinavian Red Flag if you want.

The line-up of participating aircraft is impressive. Serving mainly from Bodø Airbase in Norway, Luleå-Kallax in Sweden and Rovaniemi in Finland, a total of 120 planes and 4,000 personnel are joining the simulated combat scenarios.

PARTICIPATING AIRCRAFT

A rare sight in German skies, an Eurofighter EF2000 that seems to be fully combat ready (Image © Marcel Burger)
A German Air Force Eurofighter EF2000, called Typhoon in RAF service

Combat element: 110

  • 16 Boeing (McDonnell Douglas) F-18C/D Hornets of the Finnish Air Force
  • 8 Boeing (McDonnell Douglas) F/A-18C/D Hornets of the Swiss Air Force
  • 12 Lockheed Martin (General Dynamics) F-16AM/BM of the Royal Norwegian Air Force
  • 18 SAAB JAS 39C/D Gripens of the Swedish Air Force
  • 12 Lockheed Martin (General Dynamics) F-16AM/BM Fighting Falcon of the Royal Danish Air Force
  • 12 Lockheed Martin (General Dynamics) F-16CG from the 510th Fighter Squadron (Aviano AB) of the US Air Force
  • 12 Eurofighter EF2000 of the German Air Force
  • 8 Mirage 2000 of the French Air Force
  • 8 Panavia Tornado GR4 of the Royal Air Force
  • 4 British Aerospace Hawk of the Royal Air Force
GFD_learjet
A Learjet belonging to Gesellschaft für Flugzieldarstellung (GFD), similar to the one providing targeting and EWF capability. (Image © Marcel Burger)

Electronic warfare & command element: 6

  • 1 SAAB ASC-890 AEW&C aircraft of the Swedish Air Force
  • 1 Dassault Falcon DA-20 of the Royal Norwegian Air Force
  • 2 Dassault Falcon DA-20 of Cobham, on behalf of the Royal Air Force
  • 1 Pilatus PC-9 of GfD, on behalf of the German Air Force
  • 1 Learjet 35 of GfD, on behalf of the German Air Force
RNLAF KDC-10 with registration T-235. Archive photo (Image © Dennis Spronk)
RNLAF KDC-10 with registration T-235. Archive photo (Image © Dennis Spronk)

Tanker element: 4

  • 1 Lockheed C-130AAR (KC-130) in-flight refuelling aircraft of the Swedish Air Force
  • 1 Airbus Voyager (A330 MRTT) of the Royal Air Force (AirTanker)
  • 1 Airbus A310 MRTT of the German Air Force
  • 1 McDonnel Douglas KDC-10 of the Royal Netherlands Air Force
A good camouflage goes a long way, but in the case of this Swedish Eurocopter NH90 perhaps not enough to hide an overdose of black and especially yellow markings. The NH90 is called Hkp14 in Sweden, and introduction of the type in Swedish armed forces met delay after delay. That's why the Swedes ordered 15 UH-60 Black Hawks to operate along the NH90s. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
Sweden may field one of its semi-operational NH90s to ACE15 as pictured here, but it might as well be a Super Puma, called HKP10 (Image © Elmer van Hest)

Rotary support: 1

  • 1 NHIndustries NH90 or a Aérospatiale Super Puma of the Swedish Air Force

ACE15 plans to fly during two mission periods a day. The line-up and ambitions of ACE15 are larger than the first edition of ACE in 2013, when 90 aircraft and 2,000 personnel participated.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger, based on source information provided by the Norwegian Armed Forces (Forsvaret) and Swedish Armed Forces (Försvarsmakten)
Featured image: Two Royal Norwegian Air Force F-16s in action in the days ahead of the start of ACE15 (Image © Nils P. Skipnes / Forsvaret)

A pair of Swedish Air Force JAS 39C Gripen aircraft passing ground forces positions during Cold Response 2014 (Image © Ole-Sverre Haugli / Hæren / Forsvarets mediesenter)
A pair of Swedish Air Force JAS 39C Gripen aircraft. (Image © Ole-Sverre Haugli / Hæren / Forsvarets mediesenter)
A Finnish Air Force F-18A photographed from the L-410 (Image © Eesti Kaitsevägi)
A Finnish Air Force F-18C (Image © Eesti Kaitsevägi)

2 thoughts on “Arctic Challenge Exercise 2015 kicks off”

    1. Hi,

      Thanks for the sharp eye. Adding them now!

      Kind regards,
      Elmer van Hest
      Airheadsfly.com

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