Horse riders and rooftop workers—and the rest of the people—should prepare for the rumble in the sky over the upcoming weeks.

Midnight Hawks. Picture: Joni-Pekka Luomala/Flickr

The Finnish Air Force’s live air exercise, Leka 2020, kicked off on Monday where ten Hawk jet trainers are working their combat techniques.

Some of the flights are operated from Tikkakoski airport in Jyväskylä, and other areas for the exercise missions include central Finland, northern Savonia and Pirkanmaa regions, where the flights are conducted at a height of 50 meters.

The flights are flown from Monday to Thursday between 08:30 and 21:00. The exercise is to be wrapped up on Friday by 16:00.

The largest live air exercise of the spring

On the following week, the largest live air exercise of the spring, Ilmataktiikka 20 (Air Tactics 20), will begin on Monday, May 18, and last until Friday, May 22. All the units of the Finnish Air Force will participate in the exercise where the focus will be on the training of Air Force key personnel in tactically challenging scenarios.

The exercise will feature approximately 28 F/A-18 Hornet multi-role fighters, 4‒6 Hawk jet trainers, two C-295M tactical transports and two PC-12NG liaison aircraft. The Finnish Navy will participate in the exercise with the minelayer Hämeenmaa and the fast attack craft Pori and Tornio operating in the Bothnian Bay.

“Ilmataktiikka 20 is an important exercise for the continuous development of Air Force tactics and air combat techniques. The main operating base of the defending unit will be Kuopio, while the adversary will operate mainly out of Rovaniemi Air Base. The objective of the exercise is to train air operations’ key personnel in tactically challenging scenarios,” says Colonel Juha-Pekka Keränen, the exercise director, in a statement.

In addition to the main operating bases in Kuopio and Rovaniemi, the bases in Oulu and Tampere will be used. The exercise missions will be flown in an area bordering on Oulu, Kajaani, Kuopio, Jyväskylä and Vaasa as well as over the Bothnian Bay.

The flight operations of Ilmataktiikka 20 will begin on May 18 at 14:00 and end on May 22 no later than 14:00. During the exercise, daily flight operations are scheduled to take place between 09:00 and 19:00 each day.

The tactically challenging scenarios will include low-level flying and high-altitude supersonic flights, which may be heard on the ground as sonic booms. In addition, the aircraft partaking in the exercise will deploy countermeasures such as flares and chaff. Flares may be seen as bright spots of light in the sky, and chaff may cause false echoes on weather radar.

Ilmataktiikka 20 will involve mainly active-duty personnel. As a precaution against COVID-19, the troops will be divided into separate groups and contacts between the personnel will be limited.