A pair of Finnish Air Force-operated Boeing F/A-18C/D Hornet multi-role fighters will take part in Exercise Ramstein Alloy 21-1, which is set to take place over the Baltic Sea and Eastern Europe from April 20-22.
The exercise – which takes place three times a year – serves as an opportunity to enhance the level of interoperability between NATO member states and partner nations (such as Finland) over the Baltic Sea region. During Ramstein Alloy 21-1, the Finnish Hornets will take part in a variety of training missions, including the identification and escort of an aircraft suffering from communications loss (COMLOSS). The F/A-18C/Ds will also conduct dissimilar air combat training (DACT) with fighters from other participating air arms.
These training missions will take place in Estonian, Finnish, Latvian and Lithuanian airspace, as well as in international airspace over the Baltic Sea. The Finnish Air Force noted that the F/A-18s will only operate out of Rissala Air Base (AB), near Kuopio in Finland, for the duration of the exercise due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Finnish Air Force adds that “the Ramstein Alloy exercise series is a part of the Defence Forces’ international training and exercise plan, approved by the Finnish Ministry of Defence.” The previous episode in this exercise series took place in September 2020.
AirForces Intelligence data states that, as of April 19, 2021, the Finnish Air Force maintains a fleet of 55 single-seat F/A-18Cs, which are supplemented by seven two-seat F/A-18Ds. Rissala AB is home to the air force’s Hävittäjälentolaivue 31 (HävLLv 31, Fighter Squadron 31), which operates both variants of the Hornet in Finnish service and will likely be the source of the aircraft taking part in this exercise.