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Norway Prioritizes High North Equipment

Norway Prioritizes High North Equipment

HELSINKI — As Russia strengthens its naval, air and ground forces in its northern territories, Norway has responded by scaling-up manpower, equipment and Arctic combat units as part of a broader reinforcement of its High North defenses.

Norway’s program, part of the Norwegian Defense Forces’ (NDF) Smart Defense strategy, comprises a strong Arctic-focused dimension in funding and resource allocation.

The Smart Defense approach to High North military reinforcement has, since 2010, placed higher priority on Arctic-class specialized equipment procurement coupled with more intensive training for High North-deployed units. The goal is to produce combat-ready modular units that can fight independently or alongside NATO forces.

The NDF’s August 2009 decision to relocate the Army’s headquarters functions to the Arctic town of Bodø — 1,700 kilometers north of Oslo — bolstered Norway’s commitment to establishing an integrated High North defense system. That decision led to the establishment of the Joint Operational Command Headquarters (JOCH).

This new approach is centered around more compact units equipped with the best available Arctic fighting equipment and capable of delivering greater firepower.

The JOCH is overseeing the evolution of Norway’s High North defenses into a centralized command and coordinated fighting structure that will be able to call upon an Air Force equipped with F-35s, forward Army battalions deploying CV90 tracked armored fighting vehicles and high mobility Archer artillery units, and a stronger Navy operating anti-aircraft and submarine-hunting Arctic-class Fridtjof Nansen frigates and Skjold corvettes.

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