The purpose of the joint exercise was to enhance the Swedish Armed Forces’ capability of cooperating with partners of priority. The US is an important partner for Sweden and joint exercises and training are therefore held regularly. As a result, Swedish defence capabilities are reinforced, promoting stability and security as well.
“Joint exercises are vital in order to enhance our military capability; i.e. exercise ensuring interoperability and guaranteeing that we have common methods and procedures. We’re quite good at this now, thanks to our experience from previous joint exercises”, says Air Force chief and exercise director, Carl-Johan Edström.
In the exercise, which included various features, Jas 39 Gripen aircraft escorted US B-1B Lancer in Swedish airspace over central Sweden. Ground forces also participated in the exercise, which is important in order to direct close-support aircraft.
“The principal task of the air force is to present a strong air defence that controls our airspace. This way we create conditions for cooperating with others in the neutralisation of ground targets, for example, which we did during this exercise”, says Carl-Johan Edström.
A Statement of Intent was signed between Sweden and the US in 2016, in which bilateral exercises, training and international operations were areas of priority. Sweden builds security in cooperation with other countries and this exercise was in line with this declaration.