FighterSweep Fans, the Oregon Air National Guard’s 173rd Fighter Wing has successfully arrived in Finland and has set up shop. The pilots from the Land of No Slack have conducted their Local Area Orientation flights and are starting to fly with the Finnish Air Force’s F/A-18 Hornets. Thanks to Finnish Combat Camera, we’re getting a good look at what’s happening thus far. We’re thrilled to see the 75th Anniversary jet featured prominently in the footage!

U.S. Air National Guard fighter jets have joined exercises by non-aligned Finland and Sweden, in a larger push to strengthen ties with the Nordic states, Finland’s Air Force reports.

Around 150 U.S. personnel and six Boeing F-15 fighters from the Oregon National Guard arrived at Finland’s Rissala air base, in its eastern region of Karelia on Monday. Although not formally members of U.S.-led NATO, Finland and Sweden both have the option to join the alliance on their initiative and have participated in joint exercises with NATO allies for years.

On this instance, U.S. F-15 jets will join the Cross Border Training drill, held by the Finnish and Swedish Air Forces, with the aim of raising their readiness to determine and respond to threats in their sovereign skies.

Oregon Air Guard Eagles In Finland!
“Griz” pops flares while maneuvering an Oregon Air National Guard F-15C Eagle during a recent training sortie. (Photo by Scott Wolff)

The practice maneuvers will include both air combat training and refuelling practice, lasting until May 20.

This is far from the first squadron-level visit of U.S. F-15 fighters to Finland, as U.S. pilots were first deployed to Finland’s Pirkkala air in 1997. The move of joining the drill near Finland’s border with Russia, does represent the U.S.’s growing concern with Moscow’s western reinforcement.

Go check out the original Newsweek article, which can be found in its entirety right here.
(Featured Photo by Scott Wolff)