Intense spring exercises with international partners

Sweden has a long-standing tradition of military exercises with neighbouring Finland and Norway, however, the UK and US have also visited Sweden for years to take part in military exercises here. 2021 will see this tradition continue as the Swedish Armed Forces has invited several countries to new, as well as recurring, exercises.

During a joint exercise with the French navy, Swedish fighter JAS 39 Gripen and French fighter Rafale flew together. Photo: Swedish Armed Forces
HMS Nyköping together with British frigate HMS Kent during the final phase of BALTOPS. HMS Nyköping and HMS Karlstad are part of the British-led Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF). Photo: Per-Ola Mjömark/Swedish Armed Forces
Swedish and Finnish soldiers during a winter exercise in Norway. Thanks to similar culture and approach, cooperation often runs smoothly. Photo: Mats Carlsson/Swedish Armed Forces
During the Swedish-led Special Forces exercise, the US troops brought with them i.a. a CV-22 B Osprey, which is a combination of an aircraft and a helicopter. Photo: Astrid Amtén Skage/Swedish Armed Forces

"We have to be able to give and receive support and that is why it is important for us to train and exercise. This is part of the Swedish Armed Forces’ tasks according to the agreements and declarations of intent that have been agreed on the political level", says Brigadier General Mats Ström, communications director of the Swedish Armed Forces.

If you take a look at the Swedish Armed Forces’ exercise planner, it is quite clear that a lot of activities have been planned for the year. The exercises with international partners include ground, air and maritime forces and will reinforce the capability of all participating nations.

During the spring, the army will meet their Finnish counterparts in the exercise Northern Forest that will take place in northern Finland. In the early part of the summer, the navy will exercise together with international partners in the Baltic Sea exercise Baltops. The air force is planned to exercise together with several different international partners in the multi-national air force exercise ACE 21, which will take place in Swedish, Finnish and Norweigan airspace.

In 2016, a Statement of Intent (SOI) was signed on the political level between the US and Sweden. This SOI comprises bilateral exercises, training and development of the common defence capability. In line with the SOI, Swedish and US Special Forces conducted their most extensive joint exercise to date, in November 2020. Apart from the Special Forces’ units, the exercise also comprised resources from all other Swedish forces and put high demands on well-functioning cooperation between Swedish and US units and personnel.

"Through our cooperation with our partners we demonstrate that we are reliable and relevant in relation to our partners and the task we are there to solve. In order to be able to act rapidly, resolutely and together with other countries in times of conflict, it is vital that we exercise together today", continues Brigadier General Mats Ström.

During the spring, the Swedish Armed Forces will continue to exercise with international partners and so far this year, several units from other nations have already exercised and received training in Sweden.