Swedish Armed Forces Exercise Aurora 17 will increase military capability

Exercise Aurora 17 will be conducted on 11–29 September. The exercise is the largest armed forces exercise held in Sweden for over 20 years. Its aim is to increase the defence capabilities to meet an attack against Sweden. A total of some 19 000 men and women from the Swedish Armed Forces and staff from some 40 other agencies will take part in the exercise. Military units from Denmark, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, France, Lithuania, Norway and the United States will also take part.

Prime Minister Stefan Löfven and Minister for Defence Peter Hultqvist visited Gotland 19th of April 2017
Prime Minister Stefan Löfven and Minister for Defence Peter Hultqvist visited Gotland 19th of April 2017. Photo: Victor Svedberg / Regeringskansliet

The Government considers Aurora 17 to be important for achieving the Defence Resolution's ambitions of increasing the military capabilities of the Armed Forces, and so raise the deterrent threshold against attack or threat against Sweden. According to a Government decision from 2015, the Armed Forces are required to carry out 'major, qualified exercises involving joint operations of the armed forces' during the Defence Resolution period. Aurora meets this requirement.

Armed Forces Exercise Aurora 17 is a national exercise aimed at strengthening our national defence capability in light of a deteriorating security situation in our region. The exercise is being carried out at several locations in Sweden and is an important step towards implementing the Defence Resolution's objectives from 2015. It is the first and largest exercise if its kind in more than 20 years. All branches of the Armed Forces and more than 19 000 men and women – one quarter of whom are from the Home Guard – will participate. In addition, a number of government agencies and military units from other countries will participate.

Exercises important to overall capability

The mission of the Swedish Armed Forces is to defend Sweden and Swedish interests. One of the foremost tools for increasing its capabilities, testing the trained units and sending signals to the surrounding world about Sweden's military capabilities is exercises.

"Aurora is the largest exercise in 23 years, in which the army, air force and navy is participating in a joint exercise. The exercise sends an important signal about our security policy. It raises the deterrent threshold against different types of incidents and provides important data for evaluation of our military capabilities," says Minister for Defence Peter Hultqvist.

The Government also wants to increase training activities over the next few years and Sweden to regain the capability to simultaneously be able to mobilise its entire war organisation in the event of a heightened alert.
In accordance with the Government's overall focus, a number of measures will be carried out in 2018 that affect refresher training, exercise planning and acquisition of equipment, based on the main missions of the military units in the event of war and the premise that all military units must be battle-ready.

Security together with others

In light of the deterioration of the security situation in Europe, the Swedish defence capability needs to be strengthened and Sweden's defence and security policy cooperation with other countries should be deepened.

Sweden builds security and stability together with other countries and organisations. Since Sweden must be able to provide and receive military support, training in this must also be carried out. The Armed Forces must be able to receive military units from other nations and provide them with necessary support, such as shelter and maintenance. These are the kind of arrangements that will be practised with units from other countries during the Aurora 17.

"We place great value on the international cooperation that builds a security network in our part of Europe. I look forward to personally visiting the exercise on four occasions and at all locations," says Mr Hultqvist.

Increased total defence capabilities

Sweden's total defence capabilities will be practised during Aurora 17. Representatives from some 40 government agencies will therefore also take part in the exercise.

Aurora 17 will be conducted in the air, on the ground and at sea. Military units throughout Sweden will be affected, but the main exercise areas will be the Mälardalen and Stockholm areas, on and around Gotland and in the Gothenburg area.

Sweden strives to be as open and transparent as possible about the exercise. In line with this, the Swedish Armed Forces is planning a number of international visits, and avoluntarily observation visits in accordance with the Vienna Document chapter 4, which is an international agreement that promotes the exchange of military information among the signatory countries.