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Defence Forces’ main exercise will be launched in May

Defence Forces 22.4.2021 15.15
Press release

The Defence Forces’ main exercise 2021 in the spring will be executed as three partial exercises at different locations in Finland due to the COVID-19 situation. The other final exercises of this spring will likewise be conducted with special arrangements owing to the pandemic.

The Defence Forces organize a main exercise every other year. In the 2021 main exercise, the training objectives will include training joint operations, use of fire, logistics and leadership as well as cooperation with the Border Guard. In the main exercise,  conscripts’ skills will be put to the test as part of large troop entities. Units from the Services, different brigade-level units and actors from different sections of the Defence Forces organization will take part in each partial exercise.

The largest partial exercise of the Defence Forces’ main exercise 2021 is the Army exercise Northern Forest 21 to be held in Rovajärvi, Sodankylä and Kittilä 17 May-3 June. The total strength of the exercise will be appr. 7 000 persons, of which 2 000 reservists.

Ritva 21, a partial exercise led by the Navy Command will be held 26 May-2 June in the Gulf of Finland and the Archipelago Sea area and on the coastal areas of Uusimaa. Parts of the exercise also take place in Satakunta, Varsinais-Suomi, Pirkanmaa and Uusimaa. 

The Air Force will support the partial exercises led by the Army and Navy in the spring by conducting sorties. Owing to the COVID-19 situation, the Air Force’s partial exercise Touko 21 will be put off to weeks 39-40 in the autumn to be executed as an air operations exercise under the name Ruska 21.

23-28 May the Air Force will organize an air operations exercise entitled Air Tactics 21 with the participation of more than 30 aircraft. The air operations of this exercise executed by salaried personnel for the most part will be operated from the air bases of Rovaniemi, Rissala, Oulunsalo, Tikkakoski and Pirkkala. Air Force conscripts’ final exercises will be conducted by each of the brigade-level units apart.

In addition to these exercises, the Defence Forces organize other final exercises the most important of which are Nuoli 21, an Army mechanized troops exercise in Niinisalo  26 May - 3 June and Air Defence Exercise 1/21 (IPH 1/21) in Lohtaja 17 -27 May. Approximately 200 reservists will participate in both of these exercises in addition to members of salaried personnel and conscripts.

The Defence Forces Logistics Command will be in charge of the arrangements involving logistic support for the partial exercises of the main exercise and the final exercises. LOGEX 21 North led by the 3rd Logistics Regiment is the largest logistics exercise which supports Army and Air Force troops simultaneously at several exercises in different parts of Finland.

The planning of these military exercises involves monitoring the COVID-19 situation, and the execution of each of them is considered case-by-case.  Conducting exercises requires focusing special attention to health safety and the obligation of carefully abiding by COVID-19 instructions. Adjustments might be made on the exercise activities. The Army, Navy and Air Force will provide more specific information regarding the execution of the exercises closer to the dates on which they will take place.

Several committed reservist instructors from the National Defence Training Association  will take part in the military exercises of this spring. The Defence Forces provides support for the Association’s voluntary training events across Finland. The Association’s courses improve reservists’ military skills and competencies to participate in the Defence Forces’ voluntary exercises and refresher training. For more information about the courses, please consult the National Defence Training Association’s Training Calendar. The training will be executed if not prevented by COVID-19 restrictions. 

More information and instructions for conscripts and reservists involving the coronavirus situation are available on the Defence Forces COVID-19 website.