The Finnish Defence Forces announced that the Finnish Navy’s Coastal Fleet has started annual winter operations exercise Lumiukko 22.

The exercise is being conducted in the Archipelago Sea and the Gulf of Finland and will continue until 10 March 2022.

Lumiukko 22 will involve several vessels from the Coastal Fleet participating in seamanship and combat technical operations.

The military exercise will help the participating naval troops to hone their operating skills in winter conditions at sea.

Chief of Staff of the Coastal Fleet Commander Mikko Villikari said: “Winter conditions at sea may be challenging, but combat capability must be maintained in all circumstances.

“Winter navigation and seamanship skills required in winter circumstances are regularly trained.”

The Coastal Fleet is the main naval fleet in the Finnish Navy. The fleet maintains a high level of readiness to protect the territorial integrity of the country.

It is also designed to protect sea lines of communication, maintain maritime situational awareness and thwart potential naval attacks.

The Coastal Fleet’s area of operation stretches from the eastern areas of Gulf of Finland to the northernmost end of the Bay of Bothnia.

Separately, the Finnish Defence Forces announced that the Finnish Army will participate in the upcoming multinational Saber Strike 2022 exercise in Estonia.

The exercise will focus on developing ground-based air defence interoperability.

Last year, Rheinmetall Waffe Munition’s Fronau branch delivered the 300th multi ammunition softkill system (MASS) to the Finnish Navy.

MASS systems are designed to protect ships and boats from different threats.