HELSINKI — Norway has decided to invest $500 million in two new programs intended to strengthen its military capability in the High North.
The capital investment, which is being financed within the framework of the 2015 defense budget, happens against a backdrop where Russia continues to reinforce its air, naval and land capabilities in the neighboring High North.
The Norwegian government earlier set spending on the core defense budget at $5.6 billion for 2015, a 3.4 percent increase compared with the core military budget for 2014.
The two new programs are intended to reinforce defense readiness and overall capability, and will be used to add firepower to Norway’s defensive systems.
The two programs, costing a total of $478 million, center on the Norwegian Defense Forces’ project to build Norway’s first anti-aircraft battery. The cost of this project is around $120 million.
The anti-aircraft battery will be stationed with, and operated by, the Brigade North Battle Battalion. The fully integrated air-defense system will also include the Norwegian advanced surface-to-air missile system (NASAMS) and the IRIS-T air-to-air missile.
The military is currently developing a self-propelled anti-aircraft system, combining IRIS-T missiles fired from existing NASAMS II-launchers mounted on a lengthened M113 armored personnel carrier chassis. Delivery is set for 2015.
The second program will involve modernization of the Army’s German-made Leopard 2 tanks.
Read More:Norway Adds $500M To Bolster High North.