A winter weather exercise will see northern Sweden host some 7,000 foreign soldiers

Sweden, a non-NATO member, will host soldiers from several other nations, including some NATO members, during the Arctic exercise.

By Thomas Nilsen, The Independent Barents Observer - February 28, 2019
Supreme Commander of the Swedish Armed Forces, Micael Byden, talks with a U.S. soldier during the Swedish military exercise ‘Aurora 17’ at Save airfield in Goteborg, Sweden September 13, 2017. (Henrik Brunnsgard / TT News Agency via Reuters)

Winter warfare capabilities will be in focus when the military exercise Northern Wind kicks off in Sweden’s Norrbotten county in March.

The exercise takes place in the northeasternmost part Sweden, an area where a possible land-attack from the Soviet Union was expected to come during the Cold War.

A total of 10,000 personnel are set to participate, of which about 7,000 are from other countries.

Norway will join with about 4,500 soldiers, while Finland sends 1,500. Both Great Britain and the United States are participating with soldiers and aircraft.

The exercise and joint training is part of the development of defense cooperation between Finland and Sweden and never before has such substantial exercise been conducted between the two armies, according to the Finnish Army.

About 500 military vehicles from four of Finland’s brigades will cross the border from Tornio to Haparanda as the exercise happens during the week from March 18 to 27. The four brigades are the Armoured Brigade, the Jaeger Brigade from Sodankylä and Rovaniemi, the Kainuu Brigade and the Pori Brigade.

Norway sends its only army brigade from Bardu in Troms, including armored vehicles and some support units and helicopters, newspaper Aftenposten reports. The Norwegians will move in to the exercise area via the border-crossing road from Narvik via Kiruna.

Last autumn, Sweden and Finland participated in the large-scale Trident Juncture NATO exercise in southern Norway.

The Swedish 192nd Mechanized Battalion from the Norrbotten Regiment is the largest Swedish contribution to the exercise with its 800 soldiers.

Swedish Armed Forces says the exercise will develop the ability to give support to and receive support from other nations.