Buzzards Over Sweden

The Swedish government invited F-16s from Aviano AB, Italy, to take part in the multinational Arctic Challenge exercise at Kallax Air Base, near the northern city of Luleå, officials announced. A total of 12 jets and approximately 150 pilots, maintainers, and support personnel from the 510th Fighter Squadron will fly alongside NATO and Partnership for Peace nations’ air forces during the exercise, which will be held May 25 to June 5, according to a release. “The aim is to exercise and train units in the orchestration and conduct of complex air operations, in close relations to NATO partners,” exercise director Royal Norwegian Air Force Brig. Gen. Jan-Ove Rygg said in a RNoAF release. Arctic Challenge is jointly hosted by Finland, Sweden, and NATO-member Norway, across the far north. It is one of the largest fighter exercises in Europe, including more than a hundred aircraft and 4,000 personnel from nine countries, according to officials. Sweden has upped cooperation with NATO and even floated the idea of joining the Alliance in light of increased Russian military threats to the region.