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HomeDefenceFinland Leads 'Freezing Winds 23' Drills in Baltic Sea

Finland Leads ‘Freezing Winds 23’ Drills in Baltic Sea

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Next week, Finland will lead its first major joint naval exercise since becoming a member of Nato in April.

The Finnish Navy will lead the Freezing Winds 23 drills from 20 November to 1 December, alongside troops from the Finnish Army and Air Force, the Swedish Navy and several allies.

About 4,000 troops will take part in the drills in the Gulf of Finland and the Finnish Archipelago.

The exercises will involve around 30 combat vessels, service, support and transport vessels, as well as coastal and land troops, according to a Finnish Navy press release.

The drills are aimed at increasing cooperation, according to Captain Juhapekka Rautava, commander of the exercise.

“By training together, we will not only strengthen military capabilities, but also interoperability and our ability to work together,” Rautava said in the release.

The exercise will also include three vessels from Germany and the Netherlands, the Standing Nato Maritime Group One, as well as the Standing Nato Mine Countermeasures Group One, which includes seven vessels from Poland, Germany, the Netherlands and France.

“The large number of mine countermeasure vessels participating in the exercise is a demonstration of Nato’s interest in and commitment to the protection of underwater infrastructure,” Rautavaara noted.

Land, air drills

The Navy said that 16 Allied aircraft will also take part, with air drills planned over areas of southern Finland and the northern Baltic Sea. It noted that in addition to the Air Force, the Army and Border Guard will also carry out air drills.

In addition, a US Marine Corps detachment of F-18 fighter jets, French sea patrol aircraft Atlantique 2, and Standing Nato Maritime Group One naval operations helicopters are also scheduled to take part.

“Aircraft countermeasure chaff and flares will be used during the exercise. Chaff may provoke erroneous observations on weather radar and infra-red flares may be seen in the sky as momentary, bright, luminous phenomena,” the Navy’s release said.

A number of vessels taking part in the drills will berth in Turku and Helsinki during the first few days of the drills, but will not be open to the public, the Navy said.

Source: Yle

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