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F-35A, Typhoon aircraft conduct first Finnish roadway operations

The Finnish Air Force hosted its annual road base exercise, Baana 23, which ran from 18-22 September 2023. This year, the exercise saw the Royal Norwegian Air Force F-35A and Royal Air Force Typhoon participate in the exercise for the first time.

Baana is an annual road base training exercise conducted by the Finnish Air Force. The responsibility of leading the exercise is rotated among different Air Force units, with the Karelia Air Command currently holding the position. The purpose of the exercise is to prepare the Air Force for operations from locations other than their home base, allowing for quick dispersal across the country when necessary.

“This is a milestone. Not only for the Norwegian Air Force, but also for the Nordic countries, and for NATO. This demonstrates our ability to execute a concept of dispersal”, says Major General Rolf Folland, Chief of the Royal Norwegian Air Force.

While Finland, Sweden, and Norway have continued to prioritize dispersed operations training post-Cold War, the United Kingdom has recently renewed its focus on this doctrine. In 2020, under the leadership of then-Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Mike Wigston, the campaign Agile Stance was launched with the goal of relearning dispersion skills within the Royal Air Force. The first such exercise was held in autumn 2021.

“The aim of the concept is to make it more challenging for an enemy to take out our aircraft when on ground. If such a concept is to work, we must map out all possibilities, and practice them”, says Folland.

“So by being able to use small airfields – and now motorways – increases our survivability in war. In addition, this is also a demonstration of the exciting development we have initiated within the military-air cooperation in the Nordic region”, Folland says.

“The threat from Russia or the actions from Russia with the cruise missiles and ballistic missiles (in Ukraine) proves that the concept of dispersed operations is right,” Colonel Vesa Mantyla, the head of the Finnish Air Force Academy, said during the 2022 Baana exercise.

Neil Ritchie
Neil Ritchie
Neil Ritchie is the founder and editor of DefenceToday.com. Neil is also the editor of other online publications covering military history, defence and security. He can be found on Twitter: @NeilRitchie86.

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