Russian ship movement and the declaration of a "live fire exercise" come after the NATO task force exercise assembled off Norway this week for exercise COLD RESPONSE
Norwegian Armed Forces press release translated by Naval News
On Sunday afternoon, the Norwegian P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft was on a routine mission in the High North. During the mission, the Norwegian aircraft identified a Russian Kirov-class nuclear-powered cruiser and a Udaloy-class anti-submarine destroyer north of Finnmark. The two Russian vessels were in international waters.
In addition, two other Russian military vessels are currently operating north and south of Lofoten and Vesterålen, not far from allied naval forces participating in the Norwegian military exercise Cold Response 2022.
Russia has requested the establishment of a NOTAM (Notice to Airmen) area in the middle of the Norwegian Sea, and it is possible that these ships will use this area. It is important to emphasize that this activity is not a drama. The Russian ships were legally sailing in international waters, and it is not unusual for us to see such activity in connection with major exercises such as Cold Response.
However, it is important for Norway to follow the Russian ships. Norway is responsible for large maritime areas in a strategically important part of the world, and we, therefore, need to know and understand what is happening in these areas.
New patrol aircraft are on the way
One of the most important tools for ensuring a good understanding of the situation is the Norwegian P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft. The aircraft’s main task is to monitor maritime areas and enforce Norwegian sovereignty.
In addition to maritime surveillance and reconnaissance, the P-3C also conducts searches for foreign submarines and participates in search and rescue missions.
Starting in 2023, Norway’s new P-8 Poseidon maritime reconnaissance aircraft will take over Evenes’ role. The first Norwegian P-8 landed on Norway on Feb. 24, and the next two aircraft are scheduled to arrive before the summer.