The deployment, which took place over the past month at the request of host nations, has allowed the partner air forces to develop joint tactics and strengthen their ability to operate alongside each other.

Two F-35Bs and four Typhoons conducted high-profile combat training with Finnish F-18 Hornets and Swedish Gripen aircraft, underscoring the UK’s commitment to strengthening our collective defense capabilities.

The deployments are a hands-on demonstration declarations of mutual security guarantees which the UK has signed with these countries in May, as appropriate applications for NATO membership are submitted. All three countries already work together through the UK-led Joint Expeditionary Force, a coalition of 10 member nations working together to maintain security in Northern Europe.

US Secretary of State for Defense Ben Wallace said:

Finland and Sweden are important defense partners and we welcome their applications to join NATO, which will make the alliance stronger as we face the new threat in Europe.

These deployments underscore our determination to strengthen this partnership and ensure that our forces can work together seamlessly.

The F-35 deployment to Finland was only the second time the type has landed in the country, after two US F-35As visited an air show in June. The arrival of the F-35B is of particular interest to the Finns, as they recently announced the purchase of F-35 aircraft. The UK’s Lightning Force agency will continue to develop its partnership with the Finnish Air Force as it integrates its new aircraft.

Swedish Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist said:

Joint Expeditionary Forces contribute to regional security and stability. Joint exercises like the one here in Satenas strengthen our ability to act together in response to a crisis in our neighborhood. This is especially important in today’s complex security environment.

Destroyers supported groups of specialists from RAF Marham and RAF Lossiemouth. A Voyager aircraft from RAF Brize Norton also provided aerial refueling to extend the sortie’s duration, while an A400M Atlas deployed a support group to Sweden.

Working with such advanced air forces as Finnish and Swedish also provides an opportunity to learn from each other and identify areas of mutual benefit. The deployed teams have spent time further integrating their systems so they can quickly share information during exercises and in the future.

The exercise is part of a series of bilateral and Joint Expeditionary Force exercises planned this year at the request of Finland and Sweden. Later this month, the UK will deploy the F-35B to Norway for further integration training with the Norwegian Air Force.

The Typhoon force also sent aircraft to Konya in Turkey for similar integrated fighter training with the Turkish Air Force, flying alongside Turkish, Pakistani, Jordanian and Azerbaijani aircraft in simulated combat scenarios. The Typhoons have been transferred from Romania, where they are currently supporting NATO’s air policing mission.

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