Trident Juncture 2018, hailed as the largest NATO military exercise since the end of the Cold War, took place from the 25th of October until the 7th of November 2018. This was the second edition of the exercise, the first having taken place in South Western Europe in late 2015.

Although Norway was the focal area for this mega exercise, Trident Juncture 2018 spread over the surrounding areas of the North Atlantic and Baltic Sea, including Iceland together with the airspace of Finland and Sweden. The latter nations are neutral countries but routinely participate in many NATO exercises across Europe with their military hardware, including SAAB Gripens from Sweden and F/A-18 Hornets from Finland. The exercise involved all 29 NATO members in addition to the two countries already mentioned, with around 50,000 troops, 250 aircraft, 65 vessels, and up to 10,000 vehicles.

The main objective of Trident Juncture is to ensure that NATO forces are trained, able to operate together, and are ready to respond to any threat. Of course, the exercise did not go unnoticed by the Russian military forces that flew numerous missions near the exercise area and were promptly intercepted by NATO forces to ensure safety for all parties. While Russia paid particular attention to this specific exercise, being so close to its borders, the same scenarios were simulated during Trident Juncture 2015.

MAR spent three days at Bodø Air Base in Northern Norway to cover the exercise from within the base itself. The Team was granted a base visit on all three days, one of them being a media day, in which a press conference was held addressed by Admiral James G. Foggo, Commander of Allied Joint Force Command in Naples, Italy, and Lieutenant General Rune Jakobsen, Commander of the Norwegian Joint Headquarters in Bodø, Norway.

At the press conference, Admiral Foggo wouldn’t announce where the next Trident Juncture will take place but was very positive about the success of the exercise especially in the deployment of so many thousands of troops and their equipment to Norway. He thanked the Norwegian Forces for their hospitality while reaffirming NATO’s commitment to its members and partners wherever they may be.

Since the exercise was held in Autumn 2018, light in Bodø was quite low due to only a few hours of daylight per day, and sunshine was very rarely seen but we tried our utmost to get the best photos possible. Trident Juncture 2018 was quite an experience for our team and we hope that we will get the same hospitality and assistance in the next edition of Trident Juncture which should be held sometime in autumn 2021.

Aircraft Observed:         

  • 1x CFC CC-150T (437sq based at CFB Trenton)
  • 8x CFC CF-188 (401sq and 433sq based at CFB Cold Lake and CFB Bagotville)
  • 1x Cobham FA20 (based in the UK)
  • 2x FAF MIRAGE 2000B (Chasse 2/5 Île-de-France based at Orange-Caritat Air Base)
  • 2x FAF MIRAGE 2000C (Chasse 2/5 Île-de-France based at Orange-Caritat Air Base)
  • 3x HAF F-16C (337 Mira based at Larisa Air Base)
  • 1x HAF F-16D (337 Mira based at Larisa Air Base)
  • 1x IAM E-550AEW (71° Gruppo based at Pratica di Mare)
  • 4x IAM EF-2000 (37° Stormo/4° Stormo /36° Stormo based at Trapani, Grosseto, and Gioia del Colle)
  • 1x IAM KC-767A (14° Stormo based at Pratica di Mare)
  • 4x IAM TORNADO ECR (6° Stormo based at Ghedi)
  • 2x IAM TORNADO IDS(6° Stormo based at Ghedi)
  • 1x RNOAF AB412 (339 Skv based at Bardufoss Air Station)
  • 10x RNOAF F-16AM (331 Skv based at Bodø AB)
  • 2x RNOAF FA20 (717 Skv based at Oslo/Gardermoen)
  • 1x RNOAF SEAKING MK43 (330 Skv based at Bodø AB)
  • 1x SAF EF-18BM (Ala 12 based at Madrid/Torrejón)
  • 3x SAF EF-18M (Ala 12 based at Madrid/Torrejón)
  • 6x SWF JAS39C GRIPEN (F21 Norrbottens Flygflottilj based at Luleå/Kallax)
  • 4x TURAF F-16D (181 Filo based at Diyarbakir)
  • 1x USN C-20G (CFLSW Det. Sig based at Naples)