100 ARW provides fuel over the Arctic

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Antonia Herrera
  • 100th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft assigned to the 100th Air Refueling Wing at Royal Air Force Mildenhall, England, provide support to the Arctic Challenge Exercise 2021 (ACE 21), June 1-18.

ACE 21’ is a Royal Norwegian Air Force-led, Nordic large-force, live-fly Field Training Exercise (FTX) hosted by Norway, Sweden and Finland. The exercise focused on joint and combined air operations with North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies and partner nations.

This year, the Norwegian-led exercise garnered participants from the 100th ARW, as well as units from Finland, Denmark, Germany, and the Netherlands.

Training with allies and regional partners in the Nordic region enhances flexibility and interoperability among ally and partner nations in the interest of strengthening the combined response capabilities and demonstrating international resolve.

The first ever Arctic Challenge Exercise occurred in 2013 and was led by Sweden, alongside five other nations and NATO E-3 Sentry aircraft. The exercise has since rotated host nations between Sweden, Norway, and Finland.

Over the past two weeks, Arctic Challenge participants conducted live-flying to train on offensive and defensive air combat operations. They practiced evaluating aircraft, personnel and weapons capabilities, as well as mobilizing and training in multinational operations.

“The U.S. Air Force has allies everywhere on the globe and it is important for us to train together in all domains including air, space and cyberspace,” said Col. Van Thai, 100th Operations Group commander. “The Bloody Hundredth continues to fuel the fight and proudly continues to support our joint allies and partner nations.”

Exercises like ACE 21’ develop capabilities and a high degree of training for air operations. Cooperating with the Nordic countries during these types of exercises provides a cost-effective and high-quality opportunity to improve national capabilities and interoperability with other countries.

“As we continue to refine our Agile Combat Employment capabilities, Arctic Challenge 21’ is another way for the Bloody Hundredth to do so as well as showcase our air-to-air refueling expertise, this time in the High North, assuring our allies and deterring potential adversaries,” said Lt. Col. Ryan Ferdinandsen, 351st Air Refueling Squadron commander.

KC-135s, Airmen and equipment from the 100th ARW support a multitude of joint operations, including air-to-air refueling for participating receivers during the exercise.

“The 100th Air Refueling Wing provides support to the U.S. and her allies across Europe and Africa, being able to support our Finnish and American receivers over Sweden during ACE 21’ helps strengthen the bonds and partnerships with these allies,” said Capt. Marissa Hartoin, 351st ARS KC-135 Stratotanker pilot.

Exercising elements of Agile Combat Employment enables U.S. forces in Europe to operate from locations with varying levels of capacity and support, ensuring Airmen and aircrews are postured to deliver lethal combat power across the spectrum of military operations.