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International Special Operations Forces and Helicopter Winter Training Exercise begins in Lapland

15.2.2017 11.48
Press release

The most significant annual winter training exercise of the Utti Jaeger Regiment, exercise Northern Griffin 2017, is organized in Lapland from 20 February to 17 March 2017.

The exercise objective is to enhance the operational capabilities and interoperability of special operations forces and helicopter crews in the demanding arctic conditions of Lapland. The winter training exercise brings international cooperation partners from Sweden, Estonia, Poland, and the United States to Northern Finland.

Overall, the strength of the exercise is approximately 520 persons, of whom about 320 persons will be salaried personnel and conscripts of the Finnish Defence Forces and the Finnish Border Guard. The total strength of the international participating units is approximately 200 persons.

The special operations forces train, among other things, interoperability in reconnaissance and combat tasks as well as sustaining operating capabilities and survival skills during long transitions in arctic conditions of Lapland in fell landscape. Helicopter crews train advancing capabilities related to winter and mountain flying, such as special operations forces’ methods and night vision flights.

The Finnish flight unit will consist of seven NH90 transport and utility helicopters as well as five MD 500 light utility helicopters. Sweden will take part in the exercise with three AW109 multi-purpose helicopters and three UH-60M helicopters, and the United States with two MH-47G helicopters and two C-130 transport aircraft. Furthermore, personnel and equipment are also transported with three United States’ C-17 cargo and transport aircraft.

Flight activity takes place at all hours in different areas of Lapland from 6 March to 16 March 2017. During the flight exercise missions, the helicopters will also do approaches and landings and may use lights and force protection flares that will appear as bright halos.

The Finnish Ministry of Defence has approved the annual exercise Northern Griffin 2017 as part of the Finnish Army’s international exercise activities for 2017.

You can follow the exercise online:

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