IRISH troops are heading to freezing Sweden this winter in the warm-up for a new mission in January.
Some 153 soldiers will fly to Jonkoping in October for a six- week exercise as part of the Nordic Battle Group.
They face sub-zero conditions as part of a force of thousands of troops from Sweden, Norway, Finland and Estonia.
For the first time, the Army will use its new South-African RG 32M Light Tactical Armoured Vehicle which is also used by the Swedish army.
"They will take part in two exercises in Sweden, one at the end of October and one at the start of November," Defence Forces spokesman Comdt Neil Nolan said.
The soldiers will not deploy to the Arctic Circle but will still have to cope with bitterly cold temperatures while based at Skovde, about 150 kms north of Gothenburg. The soldiers go on standby on January 1 next until June 30 for possible deployment.
"They are in pre-deployment exercises in order to ensure mission readiness," Comdt Nolan said.
"It will also be a test of our logistics system for delivering our contribution to the Nordic Battle Group."
Four Defence Force officers have been deployed to the Nordic Battle Group HQ in Enkoping.