Arctic Challenge Exercise

The air exercise Arctic Challenge Exercise (ACE) is arranged every other year and started as a Nordic collaboration between Norway, Sweden and Finland.

For several years, Norway has arranged and participated in the fighter flight exercise Arctic Challenge Exercise, abbreviated ACE. Since 2013, the exercise has been held every other year, and ACE-21 takes place from 7th to 18th of June. The exercise activity will take place from Bodø and Ørland in Norway, from Kallax in Sweden and Rovanemi in Finland, and some capacities will participate from their home bases in Europe. During the previous exercise in 2019, more than 100 aircraft from nine countries participated.

Norway's participation

From Norway, several of the Air Force's units are participating, and elements from the Navy and the Army are also involved. For the F-16 this is the last time, while for the F-35 it is the first time. Air defense from Ørland travels to Sweden and will participate from there during the entire training period. There will be flight activity in the training areas in Bodø and Ørland, but mainly there will be no activity beyond the evening.


The exercise has its origins in a Nordic co-operation that Norway, Sweden and Finland began back in 2008. The purpose was that the three Nordic nations should be able to practice together in each other's exercise areas across national borders.

This collaboration was called Cross-Border Training and has been both effective and educational for the countries' air defenses. In 2013, the exercise developed into a larger multinational exercise, and has since been held every other year.

ACE is part of the Nordic Defense Cooperation (NORDEFCO), which is joint training between Finland, Norway and Sweden. On an almost weekly basis, the countries train together across national borders in missions that include combined combat training in the air, with departures from their bases in the north. Putting together a larger exercise with several nations involved provides a cost-effective training benefit for all parties.