Some exchange of information and visits have taken place over the years, but Swedish and Finnish units have never exercised together under the same command of an air tactical commander in Sweden. Some years ago, Swedish radar units participated in one of the Finnish final exercises for the conscript soldiers, but Finnish air defence units have never before acted on Swedish territory.
"We want to send the message that by exercising together we get to know each other better. It creates an understanding of our own strengths and weaknesses, as well as of strengths that our international friends have", says Brigadier General and Exercise Director for Aurora 23 Stefan Andersson.
Deputy Chief of Staff, Training Division, Colonel Kari Pietiläinen in the Finnish army says:
"We, just like you, are working to implement Nato Integrated Air and Missile Defence (IAMD). In this process, we have much in common and we need to exercise more together".
Finnish battalion arrives in Sweden
At the same time, a Finnish armoured battalion of the Pori brigade rolls off the rented passenger ferry in the Oskarshamn harbour, watched by the Swedish Armed Forces Chief of Joint Operations Carl-Johan Edström, together with his Finnish counterpart Major General Kari Nisula.
"The Finnish battalion has been escorted here by Swedish naval units, and this is a historic event, as it has never before been done to this extent", says Carl-Johan Edström.
The Finnish troops are now to join the Swedish army and put under Swedish command.