The Finnish Air Force (FINAF) will conduct the Ruska 17 air operations exercise between 9 and 13 October.
More than 60 aircraft and approximately 4,500 personnel will take part in it.
In addition to the Finnish Defence Forces’ troops, aircraft and personnel of the Swedish Air Force will also participate in the exercise both as part of the forces practising air defence tasks and in the role of opposing forces. In the week preceding Ruska 17, between 2 and 6 October, the Baana 17 live air exercise will take place at the road base situated in the North Savonian locality of Vieremä. The road base will be used in both of these exercises.
The Ruska air operations exercise is FINAF’S largest military exercise in 2017, in terms of number of troops involved in the training. The objective of the annual Ruska exercises is to train the Finnish Defence Forces’ personnel, conscripts and reservists for carrying out air defence tasks under emergency conditions, with consideration to all its aspects.
Ruska 17 will feature approximately 4,500 Defence Forces personnel, conscripts and reservists. FINAF will dispatch more than 30 Hornet multirole fighters and 14 Hawk jet trainers along with transport and liaison aircraft to take part in the exercise missions, to be joined by NH90 helicopters of the Finnish Army.
The Swedish Air Force will participate with eight Gripen multirole fighters along with an Argus airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft. The Swedish aircraft will be involved both as part of the troops practising air defence tasks and in the role of opposing forces.
2016 was the first year when the Finnish and Swedish Air Forces participated in each other’s air operations exercises. In that year, the two Air Forces took part in the Ruska 16 and Flygvapenövning (FVÖ) 16 exercises in the role of opponents of the Host Nation troops that were practising air defence tasks. Ruska 17 will see the first-ever involvement of Swedish Air Force troops as part of the Finnish Defence Forces’ strength practising air defence tasks. In this year’s September, FINAF Hornets participated in the Aurora 17 exercise of the Swedish Armed Forces in a corresponding role.
The Ruska exercise missions will be flown out of the FINAF bases at Rissala, Pirkkala, Tikkakoski and Rovaniemi, bases to be established for temporary deployments at the airports of Oulunsalo, Halli and Kokkola-Pietarsaari and the road base at Vieremä that will already be set up for the Baana 17 exercise taking place in the preceding week. Furthermore, Kallax Air Base in Sweden will also be used in the exercise by participating Swedish Air Force troops.
Area of operations and operating bases in Ruska 17 air operations exercise.
The operations in Ruska 17 will be conducted on a 24-hour basis, with the flight operations scheduled between 8 am and 11 pm on each exercise day. The flight missions will mainly be carried out in an area bordering on Pirkkala, Kuopio, Lieksa, Kuusamo, Rovaniemi, Sodankylä, Oulunsalo and Vaasa in Finland along with Kallax in Sweden. They will also take place in the airspace over the Gulf of Bothnia and in the Cross Border training areas shared by the Finnish and Swedish forces, located west of Rovaniemi. There will be troops moving on foot and in vehicles around the bases for the purpose of combat exercises. Additionally, participating ground based air defence units will operate in the training area at Lohtaja.
Baana 17 exercise at Vieremä between 2 and 6 October
Karelia Air Command will carry out the Baana 17 live air exercise between 2 and 6 October as a separate event associated with Ruska 17. The Vieremä road base located on main road no. 88 will be taken into use for the exercise and will continue to be used during the Ruska exercise until 13 October.
The objective of Baana 17 is to conduct both dual and solo operations based on flight training syllabi from military aerodromes under various weather conditions. Two to four FINAF Hornet multirole fighters and a number of Gripens from the Swedish Air Force will take part in it. The exercise missions will be flown from the Vieremä and Rissala bases on 4 and 5 October between 9 am and 11 pm and on 6 October between 9 am and 4.30 pm.