RAF Typhoons deployed in Estonia conducting the NATO Baltic Air Policing Mission have also taken part in the largest annual Swedish Defence Exercise - Exercise Aurora.
The Typhoons from IX (Bomber) Squadron joined the week-long exercise involving ground, sea and air assets and over 26,000 allied personnel from Sweden, the United Kingdom, Finland, Poland, Portugal and the United States.
The RAF Typhoons role was to provide air-to-air combat training for the Swedish Air Force over Sweden’s largest island, Gotland. Known as ‘red air’ the Typhoons carried out the role of aggressors that the Swedish Saab Gripen fighters had to face. This tested the Swedish Quick Reaction Alert procedures to respond at short notice to airborne threats.
“Aurora 23 enhances Sweden’s capacity to respond to an armed attack and the SwAF will conduct dispersed operations, using wartime air bases and civilian airports, to counter air to ground attacks.”
Colonel Anna Siverstig
Commander of the Swedish Air Warfare Centre and exercise director for the SwAF
A Voyager based out of RAF Brize Norton provided air-to-air refuelling for the Typhoons, whilst HMS Albion and the British Army’s 1 battalion, The Mercian Regiment, also participated in the exercise. The exercise demonstrated the UK’s ability to effectively integrate several force elements with NATO allies and Joint Expeditionary Force partner nations to promote and bolster regional security.
Throughout the RAF’s deployment to Estonia, personnel will be undertaking a vast array of exercises designed to challenge both personnel and equipment in various high-end warfighting scenarios. Operation Azotize will provide the RAF with opportunities to work alongside NATO air and ground-based assets that would not be regularly based in the UK.
Exercise Aurora is one of many showcasing the RAF’s agility and flexibility to act with speed under the new Agile Combat Employment model. It is demonstrative of the UK’s ability to interoperate with allies and partner nations in a collective stance to uphold security across the region. Sweden is a vital partner of NATO in the defence of northern Europe and Exercise Aurora has further strengthened its integration with the Alliance.