(FINNBAY) – Bundeswehr, 31 May 2014. The Finnish army informed the public of its participation in a joint air warfare tactical exercise with NATO members from 12 to 23 May 2014. Almost 4,500 soldiers from 11 NATO and Partner nations (Finland, Austria and Switzerland) trained on all aspects of the coordination and cooperation of air, land and maritime assets in the North of Germany.
The Joint Air Warfare Tactical Exercise (JAWTEX) concentrated on Air Surface Integration, Airmobile Operations and Joint Fire Support. The most advanced air force weapon systems – German and Italian Eurofighter, Hungarian Gripen, Finnish F-18 as well as Turkish and Dutch F-16 fighter aircraft – conducted air operations during JAWTEX 2014.
Finland joined the exercise, for the first time, at MLU2 level with is F/A-18 Hornet aircraft. About 30 Finnish soldiers participated in the event.
“Link 16 system brought a significant performance to the training and all the air-to-ground tasks were carried out successfully. Finnish team was praised for its high professionalism,” says the Finnish Practice Director, Major Jouni Junttila.
The exercise was also supported by German C-160 Transall and Dutch C-130 Hercules transport aircraft. German CH-53, NH-90 and Tiger, Austrian Blackhawk as well as Czech and Slovenian Cougar helicopters will further add to the multinational flavour of the exercise.
JAWTEX involved ground-based air defence systems like the German PATRIOT and the French SAM P system, as well as the SAM Operations Centre that operate at the Altengrabow training area east of Magdeburg. At the Bergen training area Air Force, paratroopers, army aviation and artillery coordinate their operations exercising air-land-integration.
Due to the heightened issues between Russia and Ukraine, Finland has been collaborating with many NATO members in practice, though it denies that its aim is to become a member in theory.
Last month, Finland and NATO signed a MOU to enable Finland to participate in NATO events and open Finnish land to NATO members for military usage purposes.
While Finnish public’s interest in NATO membership grows positively, the politicians are still in fear of moving with the NATO membership as Russia made it clear for Finland not to take such step early this year.