Royal Air Force Typhoon fighter jets that were already deployed in Eastern Europe temporarily relocated to Finland to practise air-to-air combat with Finnish F18s and strike ground targets using precision bombs.
The Typhoon FGR4 jets, based at Amari Airbase in Estonia to conduct NATO Baltic Air Policing, forward-deployed to Tampere Airbase in Finland for Exercise Joutsen Strike. The team rapidly constructed a Forward Arming and Refuelling Point, known as a FARP, as a launch pad from which to arm and refuel the aircraft. The jets then flew 50 miles from the FARP to strike targets using precision guided Paveway IV bombs.
Exercise Joutsen Strike has demonstrated our ability to project forward rapidly from an already deployed location. I have been really impressed by what a small, multi-disciplinary team can achieve.
Recent lessons have shown us the importance of being adaptive and innovative to sustain operations. We are enhancing our ability to conduct Agile Combat Employment – to relocate swiftly, work flexibly, and operate with minimal support – alongside NATO allies and Joint Expeditionary Force partners. This is critical to continuing to be a high-end fighting force; increasing our ability to survive to operate and to collaborate with allies.
Wing Commander MacColl,
Commanding Officer, 140 Expeditionary Air Wing
The front-line fighters piloted by aircrew from 1 (Fighter) Squadron also engaged in Basic Fighter Manoeuvres with F18 fighters from the Finnish Air Force. This element of the Exercise showcased the RAF’s ability to effectively engage with, and defeat, peer level airborne adversaries.
The Joint Expeditionary Force, or JEF, is a UK-led alliance of 10 northern European NATO countries – Denmark, Estonia, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Finland and the UK – with the aim of maintaining security in the region. Exercise Joutsen Strike simulated the kind of response that JEF could find itself undertaking; allowing the RAF and their Finnish counterparts to test their planning skills whilst offering aircrews and ground teams a chance to share best practice and refine processes.
140 Expeditionary Air Wing have been conducting NATO’s Baltic Air Policing Mission since March and will hand over responsibility of the Mission to the Spanish Air Force at the end of July. During this five-month period RAF Typhoons have intercepted 50 Russian aircraft during 19 separate intercepts