"To my knowledge, we have not practiced this way before. With both the American and French air defense participating, the Swedish units will receive very good training," Rickard Wissman, who is Head of Communications for the Aurora exercise, told SVT.
According to him, live ammunition is unlikely to be used during the exercise. Instead, the emphasis will be put on learning the routines for handling various weapons.
Previously, a government survey found that Sweden should procure a new medium range air defense system. Incidentally, both the US Patriot and the French Aster are among the likely candidates.
The Patriot is a US anti-aircraft missile system, which received a lot of attention when it was first used in the Gulf War in the 1990s. In NATO, the US, Germany, the Netherlands, Greece and Spain are the primary users of the Patriot. Recently, Poland voiced plans to procure the system. Earlier this year, US General Ben Hodges said he would like to test the Patriot in Sweden.
"This is an air defense system that has quite a long range and can well protect a city like Gothenburg," Swedish Major General Bengt Andersson told SVT.
Approximately 19,000 Swedish troops, including the Home Guard, will participate in the Aurora exercise, slated for September next year. Additionally, about 1,000 troops from the US, Denmark, Norway, Finland, France and Estonia are expected to participate in Sweden's largest military exercise in 20 years. In the course of the exercise, drills will be held at sea, on land and in the air. The main training grounds are Stockholm county, Gothenburg and the island of Gotland.
According to Major General Bengt Andersson, American M1A1 tanks and combat vehicles are expected to participate, which will be the first time US tanks will roll on Swedish ground.
Remarkably, Major General Bengt Andersson waved aside alleged connections between the exercise and Russia's deployment of Iskander missile complexes in its Baltic enclave Kaliningrad Region.
"The exercise was planned a year and a half in advance, so what happened recently has not affected the planning," Bengt Andersson told SVT.