"Welcome to Viking 18"

All participants are checked in and ready to take on exercise Viking 18. At nine sites in six countries around 2500 people will work together and do their utmost to handle an international crisis. Training is the main focus and the exercise environment is unique.

Photo: Magnus Jirlind/Swedish Armed Forces
Photo: Magnus Jirlind/Swedish Armed Forces
Photo: Lenny Ericson/Swedish Armed Forces

— Sweden has arranged Viking since 1999 and at its core is cooperation between actors within peacekeeping and international crisis management on staff level”, says Major General Anders Brännström, Viking 18 Exercise Director.

Apart from the military, around 80 organisations are taking part in the exercise; United Nations, NATO, European Union, the Police, Customs and Prison and Probation Authorities, to mention a few, says general Anders Brännström who is the exercise director of Viking 18.

Viking 18 is a unique opportunity for civilian organisations to train together with the Armed Forces on how to manage a peacekeeping operation. The exercise is built upon realistic scenarios which can occur in international peace and conflict management operations. Since the start in 1999 the scenario has developed according to current events and changes around the world. The Viking scenario takes place in the fictive, war-torn country of Bogaland. Participants will train peace and crisis management on land, at sea and in the air, while organised crime is spreading and protection of civilians becomes a crucial task. Viking 18 is a computer-assisted exercise where the incidents and elements of play are communicated through computer networks. An in-game media coverage with a television news channel and a newspaper published every day plays an important part to strengthen the feeling of realism in the exercise.

Viking 18 is lead from the Command and Control Regiment in Enköping, but participants are also situated in Karlskrona, Kungsängen and Uppsala, where headquarters for the Maritime, Land and Air components have been set up. Outside of Sweden there are also cooperating exercise sites in Brazil, Bulgaria, Finland, Ireland and Serbia.

— The Swedish Armed Forces are arranging the exercise together with The Folke Bernadotte Academy (FBA)”, says Major General Brännström.

FBA is the agency for peace, security and development and is experienced when it comes to the management of conflicts where civilian, military and police components are operating together. The Armed Forces are responsible for the military elements of the exercise and FBA for the civilian elements, which comprises authorities, organisations and international bodies of cooperation.

The aim of VIKING 18 is to train and educate civilian, military and police to meet the challenges of current and future multidimensional crisis response and peace operations. Particular focus will be put on leadership, gender perspective and protection of civilians.