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Ferrario briefs international media on Arctic Challenge Exercise 19

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Jim St. Clair
  • 169th Fighter Wing/Public Affairs

157th Fighter Squadron Commander, Lt. Col. Michael Ferrario briefed a crowd of 30 journalists from Sweden, the U.K. and other countries today at Kallax Air Base, Sweden. The discussion was about Arctic Challenge Exercise 19, a Nordic aviation exercise that provides scenario-based training to prepare participating forces for enemy defensive systems. 

“This is a unique training opportunity for us to train with our partners and allies. It’s a great environment and we have wonderful Swedish hosts,” Ferrario said.

SCANG personnel bring the expertise of the F-16’s Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD) mission to the exercise. Due to their SEAD capability, the Swedes, Finns and Norwegians specifically requested the SCANG’s participation in ACE 19. 

Swamp Fox Airmen are bedded down with the Swedish Air Force and Royal Air Force at Kallax Air Base, and commanders from both countries also presented information about the exercise from their nation’s perspectives. 

Swedish Air Force Lt. Col. Tobhias Wikström, the deputy exercise director for operations in ACE 19 and also the Wing Commander Flying at Kallax Air Base, described the realistic scenarios the participants train for. 

“It’s challenging as well as very realistic; With all the aircraft operating together, it’s complex,” said Wikström. 

Royal Air Force Wing Commander Matthew D’Aubyn, commanding officer No. 6 Squadron provided the RAF perspective of the exercise as well. 

“The challenges for an exercise like this is the amount of scale, the complexity, and delivering realistic training. The scale is indicated by the fact that there’s more than a hundred aircraft participating in a large force exercise. There are few exercises that deliver that amount of scale,” D’Aubyn said. 

After the brief, reporters were transported to the flight line to observe take offs of the multinational aircraft. U.S. Air Force F-16C Fighting Falcon, Royal Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon and Swedish Air Force JAS 39 Gripen fighters launched in consecutive waves to conduct the afternoon’s combined air operations. While the jets were away, the journalists visited static Gripen, Typhoon and Fighting Falcon aircraft on the ramp. The journalists interacted with and interviewed pilot and maintenance subject matter experts from all three nations about the work they are doing during ACE 19.

More than 125 aircraft and 4,000 military personnel from nine militaries including Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the U.S. are participating over the next two weeks.