The final stage of the CSTO joint military exercise took place in Kazakhstan.
The Collective Rapid Reaction Force of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) began the two-week exercise at Kazakhstan’s Matybulak training grounds on October 2, with more than 7,000 personnel from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan taking part.
The CSTO comprises Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.
According to the CSTO Secretariat, the exercise is aimed at practicing the deployment of the force in crisis situations on the territory of member states.
On Wednesday 18 October 2017, the Finnish Defence Forces trained with the Police and the Finnish Border Guard off the coast of Helsinki in maritime conditions.
The Finnish Defence Forces, the Police and the Finnish Border Guard trained as part of inter-authority cooperation and executive assistance, onboard an Eckerö Line vessel. The vessel ran on its fixed commercial schedule and the shipping company informed it’s passengers of the exercise event.
Apart from the participating personnel, this exercise involved both the vessel and an NH-90 helicopter.
Finnish security authorities engage in training cooperation on a regular basis. Similar exercises have been organized with other shipping companies in the past.
RAMSTEIN, Germany – Allied Air Command successfully accomplished support for the US-led Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) exercise Formidable Shield 17 from September 24 to October 18, 2017.
This tactical level BMD exercise was conducted by Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO (STRIKFORNATO) on behalf of the US Sixth Fleet. Allied Air Command enabled the datalink architecture through NATO’ system of systems that can manage, communicate and provide decision-making information to NATO command entities.
A US exercise with NATO involvement, Formidable Shield 17 demonstrated the capability of Nations and the Alliance to execute live intercepts of missile threats using a complex system of sensors and shooters in defence of NATO Allies’ territories, populations and forces from the sea.
This exercise provided nations the ability to connect fire units and sensors to NATO’s data-link architecture. With the assistance of US Joint Interface Tactical Control Officers and through a complex architecture, Allied ships and aircraft were able to integrate surveillance pictures from the tactical to the operational levels of command.
For the first time in Allied Air Command history a fully Integrated Air and Missile Defence Picture involving joint assets was used to support a no-notice launch and simultaneous engagement of ballistic and air defence targets to test the live-fire version of the defence in depth concept of operations.
Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States participated with forces in exercise FORMIDABLE SHIELD 17; Belgium and Denmark also send staff members. In total, 14 ships, ten aircraft, and more than 3.300 personnel participated in this exercise. NATO AWACS sorties conducted important link integration and range safety functions throughout the exercise.
An international two-week exercise Iron Wolf II is kicking off on Wednesday in Lithuania’s Gaiziunu training ground in the Jonava district and General Silvestras Zukauskas ground in Svencionys district.
The exercise will involve training and assessment of planning and operational capacities of the NATO battalion combat group and uhlan mechanized infantry battalion assigned to the mechanized infantry brigade Iron Wolf, improvement of interaction with NATO Allies, the Lithuanian Defense Ministry said.
The drills will involve more than 2,300 troops from 12 NATO member-states, as well as a staff element of NATO’s multinational North-Eastern unit.
Stationed in Rukla at the beginning of 2017, the multinational combat group is headed by Germany. The team achieved full operational capacity in June.
The first part of the Iron Wolf war games was held in June, involving more than 5,000 troops from 10 NATO member-states.
The Indestructible Brotherhood-2017 drills on the post-conflict settlement involving peacekeeping forces of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a post-Soviet security bloc, kicked off in Kazakhstan on Monday.
The maneuvers in south-eastern Kazakhstan’s Iliysky firing ground will be held until October 20, the country’s Defense Ministry said.
“The drills involve peacekeeping contingents from Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan, and police units part of the CSTO Collective Peacekeeping Forces,” the press service said.
Representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the joint headquarters and the secretariat of the CSTO have been also invited, it said.
The major goal of the drills will be deepening mutual understanding among the CSTO peacekeeping contingents. During the maneuvers, the commanders and staff will practice to prepare for peacekeeping operations and control CSTO units, solve the tasks on localizing conflicts and improving field training during joint actions in tough conditions of Central Asia.
The participants will also train to hold negotiations, accompany humanitarian cargos, patrol and be on duty at observation points and checkpoints, and destroy militants’ training camps. The maneuvers will also involve psychological operations and information warfare units.
According to the scenario of drills, the situation will gradually change due to the massive arrival of refugees. Special attention will be paid to improving cohesion of the peacekeeping contingents.
In order to increase military capabilities, the Swedish Armed Forces conducted Exercise Aurora 17 in September. It was a national exercise that built a stronger defence and increased the overall capability of the armed forces in the face of an attack on Sweden.
The overarching mission of the Swedish Armed Forces is to defend the country´s interests, our freedom and the right to live as a free and democratic people.
Deterrence lies at the core of a strong defence, one that rises to all threats and overcomes all challenges. It is designed to deter potential attackers, and force them to carefully consider the risks of attacking our country. For a deterrent to be effective, it needs to be credible and visible. Through frequent and extensive training and exercise, especially with other defence forces, Sweden is strengthening its deterrence effect and increases our defensive capabilities.
Aurora 17 was conducted in the air, on land and at sea. Units from all over Sweden were involved, but the main exercise areas were the Mälardalen and Stockholm areas, on and around Gotland, and the Gothenburg area.
The Exercise contributed to the development of Sweden’s total defence capabilities. 40 other agencies will participated in the exercise. In addition, in order to have as good an exercise as possible, and at the same time exercise Sweden’s defence capability against a larger, sophisticated opponent, other countries have been invited to participate in Aurora 17. This video demonstrates that concept with the United States Marine Corps acting as the ‘opponents’ using Russian RPGs in a simulated anti-tank attack exercise against Swedish ‘Blue’ forces.
CV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft from U.S. Special Operations Command Europe participated in Exercise Aurora 17, the largest military exercise in Sweden over the last 20 years. More than 19,000 personnel from Sweden participated in the exercise alongside an estimated 1,500 personnel from Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Lithuania, Latvia, Norway, and the United States. Filmed out of Satenas Airbase, Sweden in September, 2017.
Since 2016, Finnish Air Force F/A-18 multi-role fighters have been capable of carrying air to ground weapons. During Ruska 2017 Air Operations Exercise the exercise troops familiarize themselves with all aspects of planning and execution operations including air-to-ground missions.
Protecting Finland’s population, critical infrastructure of the nation and the troops and capabilities of the Finnish Defence Forces from attacks from the air is the main mission of the air defense of Finland.
The air defense of Finland, led by the Finnish Air Force, is based on Defensive Counter Air missions performed by combat aircraft supported by Ground-Based Air Defence units with both airborne and ground-based capabilities equally important to mission success.
From late 2016, a new type of mission capability has been added to the Finnish Air Force as its the F/A-18 C/D Hornet multi-role fighters reached Full Operational Capability for the use of precision-guided air-to-ground weapons. As a part of the Mid-Life Upgrade 2 (MLU 2) programme that ran from 2012 to 2016, the short range guided bomb JDAM, medium-range glide bomb JSOW and the long-range JASSM standoff missile were integrated to the F/A-18 fleet.
The weapons inventory enables the Finnish Air Force to support all three branches of the Finnish military, the Army, the Navy and the Air Force with the ability to strike various types of ground targets from a distance up to several hundred kilometers. The F/A-18 with the air-to-ground capability is a flexible and fast platform for delivering firepower even during surprising and fast-developing military crises.
The air-to-ground capability of the Finnish Air Force contributes to the Defense of Finland in several ways. One of its important effects is the fact that the potential attacker needs to take into consideration the defender’s ability to strike its units and their staging areas from a distance – something that an air defence force with only Defensive Counter Air and Ground Based Air Defense capabilities is unable to do.
More than 3,500 troops will participate in Silver Arrow 2017 international military drill held in Latvia – Adazi, Ape, Gulbene and Aluksne regions – on October 16- 29, the Latvian Defense Ministry reported.
Countries participating in the drill include Albania, the US, Estonia, Italy, Canada, Latvia, the UK, Poland, Slovenia, Spain and Germany. Also about 200 home guards and 30 reserve troops will participate in the exercise.
The goal of the drill is to improve cooperation of the National Armed Forces with the allies, train the ability of units to plan and conduct defense operations, the ministry said.
Alongside, National Armed Forces mobilization drills and reserve troops exercise will be held.
The ministry reminded that initially Silver Arrow was a national military exercise, but since 2014 it has growing into an international exercise with cooperation of allies and partners.
Hohenfels, Germany – During Swift Response 17, Phase II, multinational paratroopers jumped from a C-130 Hercules outside of the Hohenfels Training Area, Oct. 9, 2017.
Swift Response 17-2 is an annual, U.S. Army Europe-led exercise focused on allied airborne forces’ ability to quickly and effectively respond to crisis situations as an interoperable multi-national team.
The first airborne operation during SR 17-2 included 120 British and 166 French paratroopers jumping at 800 feet above ground level onto a drop zone that was approximately 800 by 800 meters in size. The British paratroopers jumped with combat equipment while the French did not.
Swift Response takes place at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center in Hohenfels, Germany, Oct. 2-20.and includes more than 6,000 participants from Bosnia-Herzegovina, France, Italy, Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Ruska 17 Air Operations exercise, which took place in from 9 to 13 October, focused on all aspects of the air defense of Finland. In terms of the amount of troops participating Ruska 17 was the largest exercise of the Finnish Air Force in 2017. One of the training targets of Ruska was to test the use of the precision-guided air-to-ground weapons of the Finnish Air Force F/A-18 Hornet multi-role fighter fleet as a part of the operations of the Finnish Defence Forces.
“Ruska 17 was successful in testing our capability to fight a battle as an air force, says Brigadier General, Jari Mikkonen, the Chief of Staff of the Finnish Air Force. ” In this year’s exercise we were able to train the whole chain of functions required for the execution of air operations in an efficient and safe manner, Air base operations, Command and Control, surveillance, operational command and flight operations are all functions that one needs to master.”
“During the exercise week we carried out successful large-scale air operations that included the use of our air-to-ground capabilities. An exercise that puts the performance and capabilities of all types of Air Force war time units into a test is vital to the air defense of Finland.
The main goal of Ruska exercises that have been organized annually is to train Finnish Defence Forces personnel, conscripts and reservists in their tasks in all functions of the war time air defence of Finland.
During Ruska 17 Finnish Defence Forces personnel, reservists and conscripts were trained to plan an conduct operations including the usa of the F/A-18 air-to-ground precision-guided weapons.
“Well-trained troops are key elements in our capability to fulfil our mission, BGen Mikkonen says. “Ruska 17 was an excellent opportunity to train our personnel, reservists and conscripts. A motivated reserve force that knows its duties well ensures the continuity of our operations and brings flexibility and resilience. Judging by what I saw during Ruska 17 and the feedback I’ve received, our reserve is meets these standards well.
A Test of Finnish-Swedish Cooperation
Finnish-Swedish air force cooperation has a long history and in the recent years it has intensified. In 2016 Finland’s and Sweden’s combat aircraft took part in each other’s Ruska 16 and Flygvapenövning 16 exercises.
In Ruska 17, the Swedish air force took part in the exercise with flying units carrying out both air defense tasks of Finland in the and acting as the adversary of the defenders. Earlier this fall, Finnish Air Force F/A-18s were also seen in a similar role in Sweden’s Aurora 17 exercise.
In Ruska 17, a significant milestone was achieved as the Swedish Air Force Gripen multi-role fighters were integrated in the air defense system of Finland performing their missions together with the Finnish F/A-18 multirole fighters showing significant interoperability. The air forces train together in the context of the Finnish-Swedish Defense Cooperation (FISE) that the governments of Finland and Sweden have agreed to pursue.
This ensures that the air force cooperation can deepen further in the future.
“Swedish Air Force took part in Ruska as a part of both the defensive Blue force and their adversary”, Bgen Jari Mikkonen says. “In this week’s exercise, the FISE defense cooperation was realized in our ability to conduct air operations together. We showed that both our procedures and our systems are interoperable enabling us to deepen our cooperation further. By taking part in each other’s exercises we make more extensive and versatile air operations possible and also develop our capabilities.”
The decision on Ruska 17 and its execution schedule was made over a year ago which also marked the start for the exercise planning.
Preparations for Ruska 17 also included one preparatory exercise: During week 40 in early October Finnish and Swedish aircraft participating in Ruska took part in Baana 17 air exercise that focused on flying operations to and from a temporary road base in Vieremä, Eastern Finland.
Late in the week preceding Ruska live exercise stage was also the time when most of the troops required for the event were called for service and equipped for their mission. A total of 5,100 personnel took part in Ruska 17 with 2,900 reservists included in the number.
According to BGen Mikkonen, the Ruska 17 exercise planning, preparatory actions and the live exercise stage were conducted successfully.
“The Red force provided the Blue forces with an adversary that showed variety in its actions and the difficulty level of the training was gradually raised during the exercise. The Blue force showed skills and capability of the Finnish air defense that is sure to have a pre-emptive effect on military crises.”
The flight operation of Ruska 17 ended in the afternoon of October 13. Before concluding the exercise, the temporary air base functions established will be removed and the reservists will return to their civilian duties.
“After the exercise I’m looking forward to receiving feedback and suggestions for the development of the exercise concept”, Brigadier General Mikkonen says. “I want to take this opportunity to thank the troops participating in the exercise for excellent performance. I’d also like to thank the residents of the area of operations for understanding as the jet noise caused by a large-scale exercise such as Ruska can be quite high at times”.