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Cooperation in Arrow 17 exercise

11.5.2017 18.48
Press release
Ilmatorjuntapanssarivaunu Marksman ajaa hiekalla ja hiekka pöllyää

An international exercise is cooperation between troops, countries and different branches. The Arrow 17 exercise forms a base to practice cooperation and compatibility, and to further develop those areas. The level of tactical knowledge increases when practicing together.

In international exercises, a significant amount of work is done already before the actual exercise begins. It is important to carefully define the common objectives of the exercise, decide the measures to reach the goals and then to create a suitable organization. It requires several kinds of authorisations and diplomatic maneuvers, such as bringing in guns or foreign soldiers to another country. It is useful to know as early as possible, which countries are participating in the exercise, to have enough time for the preparations. Lieutenant Colonel Juhana Skyttä from the Armoured Brigade has been attending the preparations of Arrow 16 last year, when the exercise took place in Finland for the first time.

– We have more experience now than last year, so it has been easier to deal with practical issues like logistics and entering Finland, Skyttä explains.

Multinational, compatible troops

The common language and commonly set means for communication are in a key aspect of multinational exercises. All the equipment and communications systems have to be compatible; issues like radio frequencies have to be agreed in advance to be fully compatible. In Arrow 17 there has been a lot of work done in advance to adjust the simulator systems from the participating countries to work together. This year in Arrow 17 the simulators are used ever more than last year which means that all operational troops have two-way simulator units in use.

Different branches aiming at seamless cooperation

In Arrow 17 the participating troops are forming two battle groups, thus creating a two-way battle exercise.Both battle groups have a mix of nationalities and individual troops. The impact of a combating unit, is only as how well they effectively utilise their weapons systems to reach the goals. The idea of branches cooperating together is based on a fact that each branch has to perform at it's best, and then by seamless cooperation with other branches, they are together providing the optimal results required and reaching their set goals. A lot of practice is needed for smooth and effective cooperation. Everything starts from an individual soldier who has to master his own duties and then to be able to act as part of a bigger unit. A typical example of cooperation between branches is for example; combat engineers, air defence and infantry cooperating together in a battle. The communication has to work perfectly to support the coordination of all the troops.

It all starts from an individual

In a battle situation everything affects everything else. If one platoon is slow, or not being able to fulfill it is duty properly, everybody is affected. For troops to be able to act effectively, even in unexpected situations, there has to be plenty of training, first on the individual level and then in bigger units. The one controlling the situation is always the fastest. Careful preparations and complete orders help to cooperate well. The commander of the battle group has an important role in those situations, but in the end every single soldier matters, and is needed to complete the task at hand. Lieutenant Colonel Juhana Skyttä is satisfied with the troops:

– All the action in this exercise has been very smooth and fast, Skyttä says.

– The Norwegian conscripts seem to be very active and brisk, very similar to the Finnish ones! Skyttä sums up.