Military Capabilities

Moscow stages comprehensive Arctic exercise

21 August 2019

Russia staged a 30-vessel exercise with ships from three of its four fleets in international waters off Norway’s northernmost Nordland and Troms counties from 13 to 17 August.

Despite Moscow issuing four advance notices to airmen (NOTAMs), the scale of the drills was much larger than anticipated by Norway.

The flotilla, comprising surface ships, submarines, maritime patrol aircraft, and strategic bombers from the Northern, Baltic, and Black Sea fleets was led by the Project 1155 Udaloy-class guided-missile destroyer Severomorsk and also included the Project 22350 guided-missile destroyer Admiral Gorshkov , commissioned in July 2018.

In an interview on 14 August with national broadcaster NRK, Norway’s defence chief, Admiral Haakon Bruun-Hanssen, said that Moscow’s aim was to be able to deny NATO access to the Baltic, North, and Norwegian Seas through maritime superiority in what is referred to strategically as the Greenland, Iceland, UK (GIUK) Gap.

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