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F-35s operate from Sweden for first time as Nordic air forces strengthen co-operation

One of two Norwegian F-35As arriving at Vidsel forward operating base, marking the first time this aircraft type has operated in Sweden. (Swedish Armed Forces)

Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) aircraft operated from Sweden for the first time on 11 October, as part of the Nordic Cross Border Training agreement.

A pair of Royal Norwegian Air Force (RNoAF) F-35As from 331 Squadron flew into Vidsel forward operating base (FOB) in the north of Sweden, before being refuelled and departing again.

β€œIn this way, the air operational effect is increased and our Nordic co-operation is further deepened,” the Deputy Commander of the Swedish Air Force, Brigadier General Tommy Petersson, said.

The Swedish milestone came about three weeks after a pair of RNoAF F-35As operated from a Finnish roadway for the first time on 21 September.

Both the Vidsel FOB and the Finnish roadway events are part of a renewed trend among Western air arms in general, and the Nordic air arms in particular, to revive the dispersed concept of operations that had fallen out of favour following the end of the Cold War in the early 1990s, but which has come back in vogue with Russia's aggression against Ukraine.

Known in NATO as Agile Combat Employment (ACE), this concept of operations seeks to provide the means to deploy rapidly between dispersed operating locations without sacrificing combat capabilities.

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