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UK joins Finland, Sweden for joint air combat exercises

A file image of a pair of UK F-35B Lightning aircraft of the kind sent to Finland for joint exercises. At the same time, the RAF sent four Typhoons to Sweden for the same purpose. (Crown Copyright)

The United Kingdom has deployed combat aircraft to Finland and Sweden for the first joint exercises since it signed mutual security assurance declarations with the two Nordic nations.

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced the deployment on 10 July, saying that two Lockheed Martin F-35B Lighting aircraft had been sent to Finland, and four Eurofighter Typhoon FGR4 aircraft had been sent to Sweden to train alongside Boeing F/A-18 Hornet and Saab Gripen jets of the respective host countries.

“The deployments, which took place over the last month at the request of the host nations, allowed the partner air forces to develop their joint tactics and strengthen their ability to operate alongside each other,” the MoD said, adding that the Royal Air Force (RAF) combat aircraft were supported by an Airbus Voyager tanker-transport aircraft and an Airbus A400M Atlas airlifter.

As noted by the MoD, “These exercises are part of a series of bilateral and Joint Expeditionary Force exercises planned this year at Finland and Sweden's request. Later this month, the UK will deploy the F-35B to Norway for further integration training with the Norwegian Air Force.”

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