Finland prepares to host Arctic Fighter Meet 21

The Suomen Ilmavoimat’s (Finnish Air Force’s) Lapland Air Command is preparing to host the Arctic Fighter Meet 21 (AFM 21) live air exercise at Rovaniemi Air Base from August 30 to September 3.

This edition of the Finnish-led exercise will involve fighter aircraft from the air forces of Finland, Norway and Sweden. The Finnish Air Force will participate in the exercise with an undisclosed number of Boeing F/A-18C/D Hornet multi-role fighters and British Aerospace (BAe) Hawk Mk.51/51A jet trainers. Lockheed Martin F-16AM/BM (MLU) Fighting Falcons from the Luftforsvaret (Royal Norwegian Air Force, RNoAF) and Saab JAS-39 Gripen C/D fighters from the Svenska Flygvapnet (Swedish Air Force) will also be in attendance.

Finnish F/A-18C, Swedish Gripen C and Norwegian F-16AM AFM exercise [Ilmavoimat]
A Finnish F/A-18C Hornet flies in formation with a Norwegian F-16AM (MLU) Fighting Falcon) and Swedish JAS-39 Gripen C during a previous iteration of the Arctic Fighter Meet exercise. Ilmavoimat

Flight operations during the exercise will take place in Finnish airspace, across training areas used by the Lapland Air Command. Sorties relating to the event will begin on August 30 and will conclude on September 3, with missions taking place between 0800hrs (local time) and 1700hrs.

The aim of the annually held AFM exercise is to provide participants with an opportunity to conduct dissimilar air combat training (DACT) operations with a variety of different fighter types. It also serves as a platform to help familiarise younger, less experienced fighter pilots with international exercises. The event is part of the Nordic Defence Cooperation (NORDEFCO) arrangement, with Finland, Norway and Sweden all taking it in turns to host the exercise. Finland last held the event at Rovaniemi in 2018.