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Arctic weather reshapes military manoeuvring and logistics for NATO exercise

As they did in ‘Cold Response 2022', US marines are learning to use Bandvagn 206s for Arctic operations in ‘Nordic Response 2024'. (Janes/Michael Fabey)

The Arctic environment has spurred the US Marine Corps (USMC) as the land-component lead for ‘Nordic Response 2024' NATO exercise held in March in Norway to recalibrate the most effective and safest way to move equipment and people, according to Lieutenant Colonel Kevin Fitzsimmons, senior watch officer for the exercise's Combat Operations Center.

“Our infantry manoeuvre element is leaning more on host nation Bv 206s [Bandvagn 206s],” Lt Col Fitzsimmons told Janes on 12 March, referring to the tracked, articulated, all-terrain carriers developed by Hägglunds, which is part of BAE Systems Platforms & Services. The platform consists of two units, with all four tracks powered. It can carry up to 17 people – six in the front compartment and 11 in the rear – and the trailer unit can be adapted for different uses, including mud, sand, and snow.

During the previous NATO ‘Cold Response 2022' exercise, marines learnt how to operate the Bv 206s in the snow and use the vehicles to recover other stuck Bv 206s.

“The tyres out here of our other assets are not compatible for the area,” Lt Col Fitzsimmons said. “That's something we've had to work through to get platforms into position.”

In some cases, the USMC has looked at putting chains on vehicles, he said – something the service did for the first time during ‘Cold Response 2022'.

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