100 US, European Jets Join Arctic Exercise

100 US, European Jets Join Arctic Exercise100 US, European Jets Join Arctic Exercise

About 100 fighter jets from the US and eight European nations began an Arctic training exercise in the Nordic nations on Monday amid worries on Russian military activity.

The exercise, based in the north of Norway, Sweden and Finland with 4,000 personnel, is meant to test cooperation among Arctic nations near Russia.

“The aim is to exercise and train units in the orchestration and conduct of complex air operations, in close relations to NATO partners,” Norwegian Brigadier General Jan Ove Rygg, heading the exercise, said in a statement, Reuters reported.

The exercise, lasting from May 25 to June 5, is one of the biggest fighter jet exercises in Europe this year and the second of its type since 2013. Plans are for exercises to be held biennially, testing everything from shooting down airborne targets to midair refueling.

NATO members involved were the US, Germany, Britain, France, the Netherlands and Norway, as well as non-members Sweden, Finland and Switzerland, which are linked to the alliance via NATO’s partnership for peace.

 Russia Begins Air Drill

Russia’s military forces started a massive exercise involving around 250 aircraft and 12,000 service personnel, according to its defense ministry. The ministry described the four-day drill as a “massive surprise inspection,” to check combat readiness.

The tests began on the same day as NATO and some of its partners started an Arctic training exercise. The Russia-Ukraine conflict has led to rising tensions with the West.

According to reports on the Russian agencies Interfax and Tass, the inspection of the aviation group and air defense forces in the central military district involves almost 700 weapons and pieces of military hardware.