Melting Arctic ice spurs new spy technology

This picture, made available by the Norwegian Military, shows the $250 million spy ship, tentatively named Marjata, that will be equipped with sensors and other technology to snoop on Russia’s activities in the Arctic beginning in 2016. (Norwegian Military/Associated Press)

With the rise of global temperatures signaling greater melting of ice in the Arctic region, Norway has expanded its intelligence gathering in the High North in the service of both geopolitical and economic interests. 

A recent AP report detailed the construction and recent arrival (in Norway) of a new, Norwegian military intelligence-gathering and surveillance vessel set to conduct missions in the Arctic. 

The Arctic region was, historically, critical terrain for naval-based intelligence gathering prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union in the late 1980s.


Renewed Spy-Games

The current move toward increased intelligence gathering signals a renewal of Cold War style military tactics aimed at monitoring Russian science and military operations in the region.  This recent expansion of surveillance technology is spurred by both geopolitical and economic motives.  Norwegians (and Americans) are concerned about Russian initiatives to acquire untapped energy resources in the Arctic and the military implications for securing and/or protecting these potential reserves. 


New military technology

UPI reported that this new, $250 million vessel brings updated surveillance technology to aid the longstanding intelligence-gathering missions of the Norwegian military in the Arctic.  The hull was produced in Romania (a longtime Norwegian business partner for ship construction) and sent up to Tomrefjorden for final construction before becoming operational in 2016.