The United States wants a more visible military footprint in the Arctic. The anti-submarine exercise off the coast of northern Norway is taking place on Friday against the backdrop of increased navigation of Russian submarines in the North Atlantic.
Over the past two years, Russia has repeatedly exercised its concept of defending strongholds with navy ships in the Norwegian Sea. In the event that global military tensions escalate, securing a surface denial in this part of the North Atlantic would be crucial to protect Russian missile submarines in the Barents Sea.
The U.S. Navy said in a statement it would work with European partners “to ensure an open Arctic by continuing the freedom of navigation and overflight across the region, as well as the conduct of land, air and sea operations necessary for the deterrence, Arctic presence and security. â
Four warships, a P8-A Poseidon maritime reconnaissance aircraft and a nuclear-powered submarine worked together in the Norwegian Sea during the May 1 exercise.
The US Navy is more vague in geolocating the exercise than in saying that it took place in the Norwegian Sea.
“Due to operational security, we do not discuss the specific locations of our operational units,” Lt. Commander Matthew Comer of the US 6th Fleet wrote in an email to the Barents Observer when asked for details. .
Norway, a country which presents itself as “NATO in the north, However, was not participating with ships, planes or personnel in the US and UK exercise.
âThe exercise took place in international waters. We didn’t participate this time, âNorwegian Armed Forces spokesman Major Brynjar Stordal said in a telephone interview with the Barents Observer.
Take Norway’s space
Two weeks ago, the Norwegian government presented its new long-term plan for the armed forces. Defense Minister Frank Bakke-Jensen then said:
“If Norway does not have a regular and predictable presence in the North, space could open up for allies or others to fill,” the Norwegian Defense Ministry said as quoted by the Barents Observer. He continued:
“Such a development could have negative consequences for stability and Norway could lose influence on the development of security in its own neighborhood.”
Russia has made no secret that it hates military operations carried out by NATO members other than Norway in waters that would be covered by a possible movement to defend the strongholds of the Northern Fleet.
This includes the northernmost part of the Norwegian Sea and the Barents Sea region.
Norway’s long-term military plan, covering the period 2020 to 2024, calls for a “significant strengthening” of the military.
About 1,200 Sailors participated in the bilateral US and UK anti-submarine exercise off the coast of northern Norway.
The American warships involved were the two guided missile destroyers USS Donald Cook and USS Gater, as well as the large supply ship USNS Procurement.
The British naval ship was the frigate HMS Kent.
The US Navy does not name the participating nuclear submarine.
“Most ruthless environments”
Vice Admiral Lisa Franchetti, commander of the U.S. 6th Fleet, said in a declaration The exercise enhances the U.S. Navy’s collaborative understanding of Arctic operations.
“We are working with our partners to enhance our combined capabilities as we conduct maritime security and training operations in the Arctic region,” said Franchetti.
âOur ships must be prepared to operate in all mission sets, even in the most harsh environments. This is particularly critical in the Arctic, where the harsh weather environment demands constant vigilance and practice, âsaid the commander.
russian anti-submarine plane
Two days ago, on April 29, two of the Northern Fleet’s Tu-142 maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare planes flew over the Barents, Norwegian and Northern Seas, the Barents Observer reported.
Long-range planes were followed by Norwegian and British fighters. It was the fourth time in two months that Russian anti-submarine planes had flown south along the Norwegian coast.
In these troubling times, the Barents Observer needs your support more than ever. If you like what we do, please consider make a donation. Your financial contributions, whether large or small, will help keep our news north independent, on the north.
From Norway you can VIPPS: 105792