French, Finnish and Swedish fighters conduct combat training

Armeé de l’Air (French Air Force) Dassault Mirage 2000-5Fs – current deployed to Estonia – have conducted combat training with Finnish and Swedish multi-role fighter aircraft.

The operation was conducted on May 6 in support of the enhanced Air Policing (eAP) mission – which is a part of NATO’s Baltic Air Policing (BAP) campaign. In total, five Mirage 2000-5Fs with approximately 200 Armeé de l’Air support personnel are currently deployed at Ämari air base, Estonia, having taken over BAP duties in the region from the Polish Air Force.

French Mirage 2000-5Fs, Swedish Gripen Cs and Finnish F/A-18C [French Air Force] #1
French Mirage 2000-5Fs and Finnish F/A-18C Hornets fly in formation during the combat training operation on May 6. Armeé de l’Air

During the morning of the sortie, the three Mirage 2000-5Fs were joined by four Ilmavoimat (Finnish Air Force) Boeing F/A-18C Hornets, conducting combat training over Finland. In the afternoon, the aircraft were joined by six Flygvapnet (Swedish Air Force) Saab JAS 39 Gripen Cs and continued the multinational exercise. The mission took place as an effort to strengthen interoperability between the three European nations and will be repeated throughout France’s eAP deployment.

Although Finland and Sweden are not NATO members, training between the Nordic countries and air arms on BAP and eAP rotation is able to take place under the Finnish Swedish Training Exercise (FSTE) protocol – but only if the aircraft are unarmed.