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French, Finnish, and Swedish forces to embark on US amphibious ships for NATO exercise in Norway

NATO forces conducted amphibious landings during ‘Cold Response 2022'. The alliance's ‘Nordic Response' will build on these operations. (Janes/Michael Fabey)

Whidbey Island-class dock landing ship USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44) arrived in Harstad, Norway, on 21 February to embark Finnish and Swedish forces, which will combine with the French forces that joined the ship in Portsmouth, UK, to conduct amphibious training exercises in Norway, the US Navy (USN) said in a release.

Gunston Hall will be joined by Italian aircraft carrier Giuseppe Garibaldi and amphibious transport dock San Giorgio to participate in the NATO exercise, ‘Steadfast Defender 2024', the USN said.

During ‘Steadfast Defender,' Gunston Hall will also participate in related NATO exercises ‘Joint Warrior' and ‘Nordic Response', the USN noted.

‘Nordic Response' will continue and build upon some of the same amphibious operations the joint national forces conducted for the exercise, ‘Cold Response 2022', also conducted in Norway, US Marine Corps officials told Janes in early February 2024.

About 90,000 soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen from across the 31 NATO allied countries and Sweden will be participating in ‘Steadfast Defender', the USN said. The exercise will include 50 naval assets, more than 80 aircraft, and 1,100 combat vehicles. This is the largest NATO exercise in 36 years, the USN said.

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