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Air-to-air refueling exercise with the United States Air Force during week 38

Air Force
14.9.2020 11.45
Press release
KC-135 Stratotanker and two F/A-18 Hornet multi-role fighters.
KC-135 Stratotanker and two F/A-18 Hornet multi-role fighters. Photo: Finnish Air Force.

Finnish Air Force F/A-18s will train with a United States Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker aerial refueling aircraft from 15 to 17 September 2020.

Karelia Air Command will conduct the air-to-air refueling (AAR) exercise in cooperation with the United States Air Force’s 100th Air Refueling Wing (100 ARW) based at RAF Mildenhall, United Kingdom. In total, the exercise will involve 8–14 Finnish F/A-18 Hornet multi-role fighters and a U.S. KC-135 Stratotanker.

– The Finnish Air Force conducts an AAR exercise with the United States Air Force two times a year. The objective of the exercises is to provide our pilots with AAR proficiency and currency training opportunities. Finnish F/A-18 pilots complete an AAR qualification as a part of their training, says Lieutenant Colonel Inka Niskanen, Commander of Fighter Squadron 31, Karelia Air Command.

The exercise will be flown in Finnish airspace in an area bordering on Rovaniemi, Kuusamo, Kajaani and Oulu as a part of Finnish Air Force’s daily flight operations from 15 to 17 September. COVID-19 restrictions will be observed, as the aircraft participating in the exercise will operate out of their respective home bases. The Finnish F/A-18 will fly from Rissala, Rovaniemi and Pirkkala air bases. The KC-135 will operate out of RAF Mildenhall.

The air-to-air refueling exercises are a part of the Defence Forces’ international training and exercise plan, approved by the Finnish Ministry of Defence. The previous similar AAR exercise took place in February 2020.