Norway welcomes Air National Guard for Arctic Challenge

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Maria Rella
  • 108th Wing

U.S. Air National Guard Airmen are converging on Ørland Air Base, Brekstad, Norway, to participate in Arctic Challenge Exercise 2019 (ACE 19). Beginning May 22 and continuing through June 4, ACE takes place every other year and seeks to train multinational forces in air operations over Sweden, Finland, and Norway. For ACE 19, Sweden is the lead nation. 

As one of the largest air operations in Europe, ACE coordinates 140 aircraft and over 4,000 troops from nine nations and NATO (although it is not a NATO Exercise). The aircraft types include multi-role fighters, transport and liaison aircraft, aerial refueling tankers, airborne warning and control system aircraft (AWACS), and transport and search and rescue helicopters.

Ørland is hosting KC-135R Stratotankers and personnel from three U.S. Air National Guard bases: the 108th Wing, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J.,155th Air Refueling Wing, Lincoln Air National Guard Base, Nebraska, and the 185th Air Refueling Wing, Colonel Bud Day Field, Sioux City, Iowa. 

ACE is not a Flag exercise, but it aims to achieve the same level of coordination and prestige.

Swedish, Finnish, and Norwegian forces conduct Cross Border Training (CBT) on a weekly basis, which prepares the respective nations for both friendly and combative airborne interactions. Because of their experience, the host nations are uniquely qualified to instruct the invited nations in the CBT throughout ACE 19.