Tag: Gothenburg

French and US troops head to Gothenburg as Sweden’s biggest military drill in 20 years kicks off

French troops are heading to Gothenburg to join their U.S. and Swedish counterparts in Exercise AURORA 17

The biggest Swedish military exercise in over 20 years has started in Gothenburg, with French and US air defence units as well as other overseas troops joining the Swedes in the Aurora 17 drill of more than 20,000 military personnel.

Taking place between September 11th and 24th, Aurora 17 involves a total of 19,000 Swedish troops, as well as 1,435 soldiers from the US, 120 from France, and other units from Finland, Denmark, Norway, Lithuania and Estonia. The exercise starts on Sweden’s west coast and will also cover the Stockholm area, Mälaren Valley and Baltic island Gotland.

The first event, practising “Host Nation Support” in Gothenburg, involves testing the “capability of receiving and providing support to other nations, an important element at a time of crisis”, according to the Swedish Armed Forces.

Starting on September 11th and running until the 20th, around 1,200 Swedish personnel as well as 200 from French and US air defence units are taking part in the first phase at Gothenburg’s Landvetter Airport, as well as the city’s harbour and Hisingen island.

The show of force comes in a period where Swedish defence is in sharp focus following an increase in military activity from Russia in the Baltic region. In June, Sweden summoned Russia’s ambassador after an SU-27 jet flew unusually close to a Swedish reconnaissance plane in international airspace above the Baltic Sea.

Sukhoi Su-27 Russian Aerospace Force, Air Superiority Fighter

Sweden’s coalition government recently agreed a new defence deal worth 2.7 billion kronor ($334 million) per year until 2020 with two of the centre-right opposition parties. Conscription has also been brought back to strengthen the number of troops available to the Swedish Armed Forces after recruitment drives failed to deliver results.

READ ALSO: New defence deal agreed in Sweden

Aurora 17 will cost Sweden around 580 million kronor, about twice as much as the Armed Forces usually spends on military exercises in an entire year, according to SVT. The Swedish Government argues that a worsening security policy situation in Europe means that Sweden’s defence capabilities and cooperation with other nations in the area need to be strengthened.

“Aurora is the biggest operation in 23 years where the army, air force and marines collaborate in a drill. The exercise is an important defence policy signal. It raises the threshold against different types of incidents and provides an important foundation for evaluating our military capabilities,” Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist said in a statement.

Stridsvagn 122 bataljonen förberedd för AURORA 17

Sweden is not a member of Nato, but has strengthened ties with the alliance in recent years in the face of Russian warnings that an expanding Nato would be seen as a “threat”. The Nordic country has a Host Nation Support Agreement (HSNA) with Nato which means helicopters, aircraft and ships can be transported by members across Swedish territory upon Sweden’s invitation.

In July, US Lieutenant General Ben Hodges, who is a commanding general of the US Army in Europe, singled out the importance of Gotland, saying “I do not think there is any island anywhere that is more important”.

READ ALSO: No island as important as Gotland, US military chief says

At the same time as Aurora 17 gets going, Russian and Belarusian forces are preparing to start their own major joint military exercise on September 14th. Zapad 2017 (“West 2017”) will start in Russian enclave Kaliningrad, then move to Belarus and finally into mainland Russia.



Sweden’s Aurora 17 military exercise prompts fears of tension with Russia

Dismounted Swedish soldiers clearing a valley. The weapons used are, from left to right: Ak 5C (a Swedish variant of the FN FNC), Ksp 90B (Swedish version of the FN Minimi) and an Ak 5C with a 40mm grenade launcher. Stridsfordon (Combat Vehicle) 9040C.

Sweden on Monday launched its largest military exercise in over two decades, in cooperation with several other countries, prompting criticism that it is a NATO-style exercise and could lead to tension with Russia.

The three-week-long exercise, dubbed Aurora 17, involves a simulated attack from a feigned foreign power. It is carried out in the Stockholm region in eastern Sweden, in Gothenburg on the west coast and on the Baltic island of Gotland, according to the Swedish Armed Forces’ website.

Sweden is not a NATO member, but the military alliance’s secretary-general, Jens Stoltenberg told Swedish Television on Sunday that Sweden and NATO’s security are closely connected.

“So it is good if we practice together,” Stoltenberg said.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg

While in Aurora 17, the fictitious attacking power bears similarities to Russia, and the latter carries out its own military exercise on the other side of the Baltic Sea, which, several Swedish peace organizations and the Left Party perceived could lead to increased tension in the region of strategic importance.

However, Stoltenberg said the aim of the exercise is not to provoke a conflict or a “new Cold War.”

Sweden’s Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist said Aurora 17 is the country’s exercise and not a NATO-initiative.

“We have the right to collaborate with other countries without that collaboration being thwarted into something other than what it is,” he told local newspaper Dagens Nyheter.

Seven out of eight Swedish parliamentary parties believe that Aurora 17 will strengthen the country’s capacity to deal with a potential attack and will deepen its military cooperation with other countries, while the Left Party and peace organizations have warned of a spiraling arms race.

According to Swedish media, more than 19,000 Swedish men and women, and over 40 Swedish civil authorities, are participating in Aurora 17, along with 1,500 military personnel from seven other countries, namely, Denmark, Norway, Finland, France, Lithuania, Estonia and the United States.

Aurora 17 is estimated to cost nearly 580 million SEK (73 million U.S. dollars), around 220 million SEK (28 million dollars) more than usually spent on military exercises in Sweden, Swedish Television reported.

Exercise Aurora 17 Nordic Strategic Strength on Show

Svenska Stridsvagn 122 bataljon

In order to increase military capabilities, Swedish Armed Forces will conduct Exercise Aurora 17 – a national exercise that will build a stronger defence and increase the overall capability to face 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 the way of our choice.

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 makes it more credible.

Aurora 17 will be conducted in the air, on land and at sea. Units from all over Sweden will be involved, but the main exercise areas will be the Mälardalen and Stockholm areas, on and around Gotland, and the Gothenburg area.


The Exercise will contribute to the development of Sweden’s total defence capabilities. Therefore, it is planned that around 40 other agencies will participate.

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.



Italeri Fiat CR.42 Falco Aces – Review


Kit: 2702 Italeri 1/48 scale Fiat CR.42 Falco

Price: £24.99 available from Spot-On Models UK.

Decals: 6 options.

Reviewer: Richard Reynolds

Notes: Flying Colors Aerodecals FCA 48103 “Swedish Warriors” were used to complete a Swedish Air Force/Flygvapnet example.



The Fiat CR.42 Falco (Falcon) was the last biplane-era aircraft to enter service in May 1938. The CR.42 was produced in greater numbers than any other Italian type, with manufacturing and production ending in 1943.

The Falco represented the apex of biplane fighter design. It was fast, maneuverable, robust and agile. However, by the time it entered service it was an obsolescent aircraft, becoming superseded by faster, more modern monoplane fighter types. Nevertheless, the Fiat saw service throughout the Second World War.


The Fiat CR.42 was an export success, seeing service with Belgium, Hungary, Germany and Sweden. It fought in many theatres of combat; most notably the North African campaign, the Mediterranean and the Battle of Britain.

On the 30th of November 1939, the Soviet Union invaded Finland. The Swedish volunteer unit Flottilj F 19 fought with distinction with Gloster Gladiators and Hawker Harts in the North of Finland where there were no aircraft to defend against Soviet attacks. An in-depth report on this operation can be viewed on this site by clicking on this link: Flygflottilj 19, Finland’s Swedish Defenders.


The Fiat CR.42 was ready for service with F 19 Squadron in April 1940, too late to see combat in the Winter War which had ended on the 13th of March. Finland was offered the aircraft, but curiously declined preferring instead to receive the equivalent in cash. The Swedish Air Force took delivery of the 12 Fiats, using them as reconnaissance aircraft at F 3 Squadron based at Linköping.

In the meantime, the United States Government cancelled the delivery of the P-35 aircraft (see the article on this site at: Seversky J-9/EP-106 ‘Swedish Defender’), Sweden received 60 of the 120 aircraft that were ordered. This resulted in a shortage of fighters for the Flygvapnet. Sweden, uncertain of German intentions, especially in light of Swedish ball-bearing and ore mining production, desperately needed fighters.


Sweden ordered an additional 60 Fiat CR.42 Falco’s from Italy, bringing the total number of aircraft in Flygvapnet service to 72, making the Swedish Air Force the third largest operator of the type. The Falco received the designation J 11. Part of the package included the purchase of 60 Reggiane Re.2000 (J 20s) from Italy.

Sweden resolved not to be disadvantaged by relying on foreign aircraft in future and set about developing an indigenous aircraft industry, producing aircraft types such as the FFVS J 22 a single-engine fighter aircraft, The SAAB 21 which was a Swedish fighter/attack aircraft and the Saab 17/B 17A.


The J 11s were initially assigned to the F 9 wing, responsible for the air defence of Gothenburg, but were transferred to the newly established F 13 wing in Norrköping in 1943 when F 9 received more advanced J 22 fighters.

The J 11s operating from Kiruna, in the north of Sweden, were equipped with ski undercarriage. In spring 1942, the J 11s of 1 Division were moved to Luleå airfield. The J 11s scrambled several times to intercept German aircraft violating Swedish borders, but usually failed to make contact. The J 11s of 2 and 3 Divisions based in Gothenburg managed to intercept intruders a few times, forcing them to leave Swedish airspace.


During their service in the Swedish Air Force, the CR.42 suffered many accidents, sometimes because of the poor quality of materials used by the Fiat factory. By the end of 1942, eight had been lost, and 17 more by the end of 1943. In all, over 30 CR.42s were lost due to accidents and mechanical failures. Swedish pilots appreciated the J 11’s formidable close-in dogfighting abilities; however, they complained about low speed, insufficient armament and the open cockpits that were unsuited for the severe climate of Scandinavia.

The remaining J 11s of the F 13 wing were decommissioned for good by the Air Force by 14 March 1945. A total of 19 aircraft were sold to a civilian contractor, Svensk Flygtjänst AB, who used 13 of them as target tugs for one season, although the type was not well suited for the role. Another six J 11s were delivered to Svensk Flygtjänst AB as a source for spare parts. The aircraft were given Swedish civil registrations. The last J 11 was removed from the register in 1949.


One surviving Swedish “Falco” was preserved. It was stored at the F 3 wing; the aircraft was “hidden away” for a future museum. Number NC.2453, marked as 9 9, is today on a permanent static display in the Swedish Air Force Museum (Flygvapenmuseum) in Linköping.

The Kit

The kit is comprises 2 large sprues in soft grey injection moulded plastic with an additional clear sprue for the windscreen. A decal sheet is included for four Reggia Aeronautica, one Hungarian and one Belgian Air Force aircraft. The instruction sheet is a comprehensive 9 step “exploded view” booklet in A4 format.



The parts were washed in a warm soapy solution and dabbed dry before construction commenced. Stage 1 deals with the cockpit construction. All of the parts are well detailed. The instrument panel is moulded into the forward bulkhead, the cockpit side-walls are separate items which fit neatly to the cockpit floor and once detailing has been added the entire unit fits neatly into the fuselage halves which are joined together in stage 2.

Stages 3 to 5 deal with the wing assembly. I encountered few difficulties here as the instructions are clear and precise. I would nevertheless recommend dry-fitting the struts and checking the upper-wing for the correct alignment before cementing the upper-wing to the lower-wing struts.

The engine in section 6 is an extremely well detailed four piece unit with push rods supplied, the cowling covers were the only minor difficulty which required small amounts of green putty, that said, the engine, with the addition of some HT leads would certainly benefit from leaving the engine covers off.

Stages 7, 8 and 9 focus on the undercarriage and the propeller assembly as well as fitting the final accessories.


Camouflage and Markings

Despite the excellent decal sheet provided with this kit, I decided to model a Swedish Air Force aircraft in keeping with the theme of this website. The aircraft was primed with grey auto-primer from a rattlecan, once dry the undersurfaces were airbrushed with Humbrol satin 129 grey. This was masked off with Tamiya tape before the upper-surfaces were airbrushed with Humbrol matt 84. Thinned matt 105 green was applied next, using a small soft brush, allowed to dry overnight before matt 186 brown was applied using the same technique. The decals supplied by Flying Colors Aerodecals were excellent; these were applied with micro-set and micro-sol setting solutions to ensure that no “silvering” would occur.

Once dry, the J 11 was post shaded and given a wash of Windsor & Newton ivory black oil paint.


Final Construction

0.2mm wire was used on the outerplane struts; this was the only rigging that was required on this late-model biplane. Once the decal setting solution had dried, the entire model was given a coat of Johnson’s Klear.

This kit comes highly recommended.

Review sample kindly supplied by Bob & Chris Hext of Spot-On Models and Hobbies, Swindon.






Richard Reynolds.