Date: 22 May 2019
Finland Hosts Multinational Military Exercise
Over 2,000 soldiers as well as heavy military equipment from 14 countries have been deployed to Finland to take part in a military exercise. The military hardware consists of artillery, tanks and aircraft. This year, Finland has become the arena of Bold Quest, an annual military exercise led by the US Army General Staff for several years now. The exercise, which is to last two weeks, began in the middle of May. The main phase of the training, including a series of combat exercises, is to be held in Lapland, the northernmost region of Finland.
The municipality of Sodankylä has a population of over 8,000 people and is located in the central part of Lapland, about 1,000 kilometres north of Helsinki. On May 15, a military exercise code-named “Riekko 19” was launched here. About 800 soldiers and 200 military vehicles are taking part in the training. A unit consisting of 700 Finnish soldiers from the Jaeger Brigade (Finnish: Jääkäriprikaati) and the Kainuu Brigade forms the backbone of the contingent. Moreover, there are about 100 soldiers from the US and around 20 from Norway as well as four Norwegian CV90 combat tanks. As for the US contribution to the event, there are about 70 soldiers from a National Guard Engineer Company and about 10 Marines. The first three days of the exercise were mainly spent on testing communications equipment and practicing communication skills in English. During the following five days, combat exercises were held in the Kyläjärvi–Lintuselkä–Mellankangas area. Riekko 19 is the most important exercise under the Bold Quest 19.1 programme, according to which, military trainings are to be carried out in various regions of Finland over the next few weeks. Apart from the Kyläjärvi–Lintuselkä–Mellankangas area, the exercises are to be held in Rovajärvi and Rovaniemi (both cities are located in Lapland) as well as at Rissala Airport (central Finland) and in the southern towns of Riihimäki and Turku. In total, some 2,200 soldiers from 14 countries (including 700 Finns) and the military equipment consisting of 30 aircraft and helicopters from Finland and six other countries, along with rocket artillery, cannons and mortars from Australia, Belgium, Sweden and Denmark are to participate in the exercise.
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Bold Quest is a multinational joint military exercise initiated in 2003 with the aim to improve the level of interoperability of various armed forces, an idea created by the US Army General Staff. This year, for the third time ever, Bold Quest takes place outside the US. The Bold Quest coalition consists mainly of countries from North America and Europe; however, Australia, New Zealand and the United Arab Emirates also participate in to the event. This year’s edition is yet another multinational military exercise held in Scandinavia involving NATO forces. Furthermore, between May 20 and June 4, another military exercise, Arctic Challenge 2019 is to be conducted in the airspace over the Scandinavian Peninsula with the participation of the Air Forces from the US, the UK, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Germany and France. The US Air Force and the US Marine Corps Aviation are to be stationed at Kallax Air Base (Sweden), Bodø Air Base (Norway) and Rovaniemi Air Base (Finland).
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