F / A-18 Hornet and KC-135 Stratotanker. Photo: Air Force

U.S. Air Force to refuel Finnish fighter jets up north

Lapland Air Force this week organizes the an air refueling exercise with U.S. tanker aircraft.
February 08, 2021

The American KC-135 Stratotanker will fly in from British Mildenhall air base and train mid-air fueling of F/A-18 Hornet fighter jets from Finland’s three air bases in Rovaniemi, Rissala and Pirkkala.

Air refueling exercises are part of the Finnish Air Forces’ international training with partner countries, the Defense Forces informs. The goal is to maintain Finnish pilots air refueling qualifications.

The exercise takes place from 9.-10 February in the skies above the northern Finnish cities of Rovaniemi, Oulu, Kuusamo and Kajaani.

Finland and the United States in 2016 signed a bilateral defense cooperation pact pledging closer collaboration on military issues. The two countries have for years had joint military air force drills, also in cooperation with neighboring Sweden and Norway in the north.

Although having an extensive cooperation, Finland is not NATO member, but maintain close partnership and has contributed to NATO-led operations in Afghanistan and in the Balkans.

U.S. Marines have also participated in winter-exercises together with the Jaeger Brigade in northernmost Finland.

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