Arctic Challenge Exercise 21: Strengthening Nordic Relationships

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  • USAFE-AFAFRICA Public Affairs

U.S. Air Force F-16C and F-16D Fighting Falcon aircraft and Airmen assigned to the 52nd Fighter Wing, Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, have arrived in Kallax, Sweden, to support Arctic Challenge Exercise 21, a Norwegian air force-led exercise, scheduled to take place in June 2021 in the Nordic countries of Sweden, Finland, and Norway.

In addition to the F-16 aircraft, U.S. Air Force Reserve KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft and Airmen assigned to the 459th Air Refueling Wing, Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, will operate out of Rovaniemi AB, Finland. KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft and Airmen assigned to the 100th ARW, RAF Mildenhall, England, will operate out of their home station. Airmen assigned to the 435th Contingency Response Group, Ramstein AB, Germany, and the Multinational Aircrew Live-synthetic-blended Training System, assigned to U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa Warrior Preparation Center, 19th Electronic Warfare Squadron, are scheduled to support from Kallax, Sweden.

Exercises like ACE 21 builds interoperability with allies and partners to demonstrate capability and convey a strong deterrent message. During the exercise, U.S., allied and partner nations will exercise the ability to plan, execute and evaluate large force employments in a multinational air operation.

“Arctic Challenge is a premiere exercise that strengthens relationship and builds security as we train wit our Nordic partners,” said Gen. Jeff Harrigian, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa commander.

ACE 21 provides participating units the ability to train with allies and partners in all possible aspects of air operations. Units will focus on offensive and defensive scenarios consisting of air-to-air and air-to-ground missions. Along with Norway and the U.S., Swedish, Finnish, Danish, Dutch, German, NATO and U.K. aircraft are scheduled to participate in the exercise. 

This exercise has been conducted every other year since 2013 and is not associated with any current events.

Ensuring coordination with Arctic allies, regional partners, and the Joint Force is critical. Seven out of eight Arctic nations are NATO members or Enhanced Opportunity Partners and hold a wealth of experience operating in the High North.

For more information, contact USAFE-AFAFRICA Public Affairs as +49 06371-47-6558 or email or