RAMSTEIN, Germany - NATO conducted a large-scale, multinational vigilance activity, which trained the integration of high-end air, land and maritime strike capabilities in a wide exercise area along the coast of Norway on June 2, 2022.
The Royal Norwegian Air Force is for the first time, leading an advanced cooperative exercise with NATO and partner nations Sweden and Finland
The multi-domain vigilance activity with approximately 130 participants, led by Norway, focused on integrating command and control of Joint forces in the North of SACEUR's Area of Responsibility. Exercising NATO's ability to project credible combat air power at range, the activity involved approximately 50 aircraft, including fighters, tankers, ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance), AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System) and C-130 Hercules from Allied nations France, Germany, Norway and the U.K., as well as Partner nations, Finland and Sweden. Many of the aircraft flew from home base locations, allowing air-to-air re-fueling training for Allied aircrew.
"Vigilance activities like this strengthen NATO's ability to concentrate multinational fires from all components and underline the Alliance's ability to secure the entire Euro-Atlantic area," said Lieutenant General Pascal Delerce, Deputy Commander Allied Air Command. "High intensity, live-fly drills ensure our people and our operational Headquarters are well-prepared to deploy air assets at range to sustain peace and stability."
Norwegian Air Force F-35, Finnish Air Force F-18 Hornet and Swedish Air Force JAS 39 Gripen flying in formation during vigilance activity in Norway, Photo courtesy: Royal Norwegian Air Force
Royal Air Force Typhoon getting tanked by French MRTT A330 while two French Mirage 2000 fly in formation. Photo Courtesy; French Air and Space Force
During the vigilance activity, the participants simulated live joint fires, practiced tactical Command and Control (C2) and operated in a contested environment with Electronic Warfare (EW) threats. Maritime vessels and U.S. ground missile launchers were played notionally to enable advanced training scenarios.
"The Royal Norwegian Air Force is for the first time, leading an advanced cooperative exercise with NATO and partner nations Sweden and Finland," said Major General Rolf Folland, Air Chief Royal Norwegian Air Force. "The exercise focuses on synchronization the air, sea and land domains to enhance Alliance cohesion, interoperability and the ability to cooperate with our Partners. It takes good advantage of the speed, reach and flexibility of all our Air Forces," he added.
During the activity, participants were able to learn from each other and strengthen relationships with other nations operating from across Northern Europe. These large-scale vigilance activities improve the overall cohesion of the Alliance and ensure we can cooperate closely with important Partners.
Three Finnish F18-Hornets executing tanking procedures with German Luftwaffe A400M during vigilance activity in the High North lead by the Royal Norwegian Air Force. Photo courtesy: The Finnish Air Force
"We appreciate that Sweden was invited to the multinational vigilance activity executed yesterday. The activity was a fantastic opportunity to train combined air operations and a clear confirmation that the Swedish Air Force is fully interoperable and ready to integrate into the NATO air domain. As a close partner to NATO, well on path to a full membership, that knowledge is more than valuable to perceive," said Colonel Peter Greberg, Chief of Operations, Swedish Air Force.
The cohesion of NATO and collaboration with partner nations contributes to the peace and stability in the Euro-Atlantic region. NATO's activities are always defensive in nature.