Last week, Nato conducted an air operation partly over Nordland county with Norwegian, American, and Turkish participation. Joint exercises with Finnish fighter planes were also carried out. "The High North is a prioritized area for the alliance," says the Chief of the NAOC at Reitan.
Last week, the Norwegian-led air defense exercise Arctic Cooperation was carried out from Ørland Main Air Station.
With this exercise as a basis, a larger air operation was carried out on Thursday under NATO command with American, Turkish, and Norwegian participation.
"The activity took place above and outside the coast of Trøndelag and Nordland," writes Lieutenant Colonel Eivind Byre, head of communications in the Norwegian Air Force, to High North News.
Specifically, the operation involved American F-22 Raptor fighter planes and B-52 strategic bomber, a Turkish E-7 Wedgetail surveillance aircraft, and multiple Norwegian F-35 fighter planes.
In cooperation with naval and ground forces, these aircrafts practiced fighting targets in the air and on the ground against an opponent with modern aircrafts and air defense systems, writes the Norwegian Armed Forces in a press release.
"The exercise demonstrates both the flexibility which lies in airpower, and NATO's ability to defend the alliance's territory," says Brigadier Tron Strand, chief of the Norwegian Air Operations Centre (NAOC) at Reitan, outside of Bodø, where the activity was coordinated.
The training here in Norway provides a more credible and effective deterrent.
Strong American presence
The Norwegian Armed Forces report that it is the first time that the US participates with the fifth-generation F-22 in this type of exercise in Norway. These fighter planes have also participated in exercises in Norwegian airspace throughout last week with Ørland Main Air Station as a base.
"The more we integrate us with our allies and our partners, especially in Arctic Cooperation, the more resilient we become as a coalition air force," comments Lieutenant Colonel Michael Kendall, commander of the US 90th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron.
"The training here in Norway gives us the opportunity to adapt to a unique environment, and not least a more credible and effective deterrent in the European image," he adds.
The American fighter planes B-52 are stationed in Great Britain and have had joint exercises with European allies and partners over a longer period. In the middle of August, Swedish and Norwegian fighter planes trained together with B-52s over Nordland and Troms county.
"American presence in the High North is important for a credible defense of Norway and NATO. The High North is a prioritized area for the alliance," says NAOC chief Strand.
We can defend not only Norway and the Nordic countries, but also Europe if the need arises.
Trains with Finland as well
Under the Arctic Cooperation umbrella, the American and Norwegian fighter planes also have trained together with Finnish F-18 fighter planes.
The Norwegian Armed Forces describe the activity as essential for strengthening military cooperation and security on NATO's northern flank.
"This type of joint and integration training is one of the most important things that we do. It enables us to operate together across weapon platforms and systems. The result is that we can defend not only Norway and the Nordic countries, but also Europe if the need arises," explains Colonel Martin Tesli, chief of 132 air wing on Ørland.
In June, Norwegian, Swedish, and Finnish fighter planes also trained along the Norwegian coast from Møre to Nordland.
This article was originally published in Norwegian and has been translated by HNN's Birgitte Annie Molid Martinussen.