The Finnish Air Force has deployed six Boeing F/A-18C Hornet multi-role fighters and three BAE Systems Hawk Mk51/A jet trainers to the Swedish Air Force's Luftförsvarsövning/Air Defence Exercise 21 (LFÖ 21).
LFÖ 21 will run operations around the clock between October 21-27 and is based on a simulated scenario intended to practice tactical management of both Swedish and Finnish Air Force assets.
Throughout the exercise, the Finnish Air Force will fly in both the adversary and defending side of the scenario. In total, six F/A-18s operating from Såtenäs Air Base, near Lidköping in south-central Sweden as part of the defence force, while three Finnish Hawks will operate as the adversary aircraft from Visby civil airport on the Swedish island of Gotland.
Since 2016 the Finnish and Swedish Air Force have participated in each other’s main air exercises, Swedish Saab JAS-39 Gripen aircraft travelled to the Finnish Air Force’s Ruska 21 during October 4-9.
The Saab Gripen E/F platform is a contender in Finland’s ongoing HX fighter competition, which will determine a replacement to its current F/A-18C Hornets. Other bids include Boeing’s F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, Lockheed Martin’s F-35, the Eurofighter Typhoon, and France’s Dassault Rafale, with an announcement of the winner of the €10bn programme to be made by the end of the year.