The Royal Air Force has deployed Typhoon and F-35B Lightning jets to Finland and Typhoon FGR4 jets to Sweden as part of an increased presence in the region due to Russian aggression.
The RAF say here that 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.
“Two F-35Bs and four Typhoons conducted high-end warfighting training with Finnish F-18 Hornets and Swedish Gripen aircraft, underlining the UK’s commitment to strengthening our collective defence capabilities. The deployments are a practical demonstration of the mutual security assurance declarations that the UK signed with these nations in May, as they progress their respective applications to join NATO. All three nations already work together through the UK-led Joint Expeditionary Force, which is a coalition of 10 member nations who cooperate to maintain the security of Northern Europe.”
Ben Wallace, Secretary of State for Defence, said:
“Finland and Sweden are important defence partners and we welcome their applications to join NATO, which will make the alliance stronger as we face a renewed threat in Europe. These deployments highlight our determination to enhance that partnership and ensure our forces can work together seamlessly.”
The F-35 deployment to Finland was only the second time that the aircraft type has landed in the country, after two US F-35A visited for an air show in June. The F-35B’s arrival was of particular interest to the Finns as they recently announced that they will purchase F-35 aircraft.
The RAF say that the UK Lightning Force will continue to develop their partnership with the Finnish Air Force as they integrate their new aircraft, you can read more on this here.