Exercise Aurora 17 – strengthening defence of Finland and Sweden
The Finnish Defence Forces cooperates closely with the Swedish Armed Forces. This bilateral defence cooperation is beeing built on mutual trust and aims at strengthening security and safety of the Baltic Sea region as well as the defence of Finland and Sweden.
The objective in the bilateral defence cooperation between Finland and Sweden (FISE) is in enhancing defensive readiness, capability and interoperability. This cooperation is based on trust, sustained long-term cooperating and standardised operating procedures, and involves all the services. Furthermore, the recently set new third task of the Finnish Defence Forces (FDF) obligates the FDF to increase international interoperability and cooperation.
Meanwhile, the objective of the Finnish Army in the bilateral defence cooperation between Finland and Sweden is to further develop Army capability, international interoperability and expertise by means of close-knit cooperation. Sustained cooperation and exercise activity between brigade-level units enables facilitating international expertise in respective units. In the future, this cooperation is expected to increase.
As concerns the Exercise Aurora 17, the Finnish Army participation involves training both at the platoon and company level with the overall goal that, in a couple of years’ time, the bilateral defence cooperation between Finland and Sweden involves carrying out the exercise drill at the battalion level.
The objectives for the participation in the Exercise Aurora 17 include, among other things, honing skills in interoperability of troops and applying tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) in demanding conditions. Both the conscripts and salaried personnel participating in the exercise have the opportunity to undertake highly motivating simulator assisted dual training in an international environment.
Training in international exercises serves national defence
Finnish participation in the international exercises is vital from the viewpoint of national defence, which translates into Finnish units displaying their expertise. Moreover, international exercises and training with international troops bring along added value in the form of troop training. International training forms the foundation for requesting necessary assistance in a crisis situation: cooperation capability remains critical.
Participation in the Exercise Aurora 17 is based on bilateral defence cooperation and annual action plans. This bilateral cooperation carries along the readiness to participate in providing training opportunities in Finland as well as participate in exercises organized abroad.
Conscripts are motivated for international tasks
Lieutenant Colonel Tapio Huhtamella from Pori Brigade thinks that participation in the Exercise Aurora 17 offers a valid opportunity for enhancing expertise both at individual and troop level. While participating in the Exercise Aurora 17, the conscripts of the Finnish contingent engage in combat drills alongside the professional soldiers.
– The objective of participating in the exercise is to develop the capability of a unit trained as part of the Finnish Rapid Deployment Force (FRDF) to operate in an international operation in a multinational force.
– In practice, this means that we train and drill together with the multinational troops the type of versatile cooperating that may involve, for instance, troop movement, leading, or combat service support. While exercising we observe how cooperation is implemented at grassroots level concerning the different levels of operating. This observing covers, for example, troop procedures, utilization of ordnance as well as the suitability of a given soldier’s equipment in varying missions.
Lieutenant Colonel Huhtamella considers it important that the exercise involves training with international units.
– First of all, this offers us a chance of cooperating with representatives of other countries. Apart from the opportunity to learn from their procedures, this allows for displaying our own expertise and capability. As for my own unit, this international exercise undoubtedly affects the motivation of the participating personnel optimally.
Participation in international exercises offers appropriate means for accruing relevant experience and developing interoperable practices.
– However, on the basis of my own experiences, Finnish conscripts are fully capable of excelling in any type of international mission and thus internationally comparable. I know for sure that my unit remains extremely motivated as regards this exercise, and the conscripts have truly been looking forward to participating in Aurora 17, Huhtamella says.