A Good Ending for Exercise Loyal Arrow

June 17, has seen the concluding ceremony of Loyal Arrow, the NATO-led air exercise. The host for this exercise has been the air base of the F 21 Wing. It was the moment for personnel of the ten participating nations to thank each other after nine days of air exercises. There were representatives from most of the participating countries at the concluding ceremony.

Brigadier General Johan Svensson and Brigadier General Gianni Baron. Photo: Louise Levin
Photo: Louise Levin
Photo: Louise Levin

Colonel Dennis Hedström, the Swedish Defence Forces project manager for exercise Loyal Arrow is very pleased with the outcome of the exercise.

– It has not been any problem to be the host nation for exercise Loyal Arrow. All participating countries have been pleased to have us as hosts, and the exercise has run without any interruptions. Not only have we gained the experience of being the host for such a large international exercise, we have also had the opportunity to develop our skills on our own turf, says Colonel Hedström.

Minimal Disruption for the Reindeer Husbandry and the Civil Aviation

Before the start of the exercise, the increased number of aircraft in the Norrbotten airspace was a cause of concern to the people concerned with reindeer husbandry and civil aviation.

– The aggregated time of delay for the civil aviation has been 1.5 hours, but this is normal for the time of the year. I can therefore say that the exercise has not disrupted civil aviation to any degree, says Colonel Hedström.

In May, the F 21 Wing invited the “siida” (reindeer herding corporations) within the exercise area in order to coordinate and keep each other informed during the period of the exercise. No complaints have been registered with the F 21 Wing, and after having called several of the corporations, the ones that could be reached were very pleased.

– We have not heard anything at all in our village. I saw an aircraft once, but I think it flew above 1500 meters, says Oleg Omma, from the Umbyn sámi village.

NATO is Pleased with the Exercise

In his closing address, Brigadier General Baron, Exercise Director for Loyal Arrow, and CC Joint Force Air Component Headquarters (JFAC HQ), Ramstein Air Base, thanked Sweden as Host Nation that had made it possible to have the exercise in such unique environments. He lauded the professionalism of the participants.

– We have all become better and have learnt from each other. We have a better understanding of how to cooperate more effectively, said Brigadier General Baron.

Return to Norrbotten

The Commander of the Wing, Colonel Per Nilsson was pleased with the exercise, and got several positive reactions from the participants.

– It is obvious that the visiting nations were pleased with the large exercise area and the access to the Vidsel firing range. The overall impression is that the visiting nations were very positive to the exercise since so many of them showed an interest in returning someday, says Colonel Nilsson.

Most of the visiting units will return to their home bases, starting today and until Friday.