As NATO forces move north for exercise, Northern Fleet sails out frigates

A file photo of the Russian missile frigate Admiral Gorshkov. (STR/AFP via Getty Images)

“Planned combat training tasks,” the Northern Fleet says as the two frigates “Admiral Kasatonov” and “Admiral Gorshkov” this week left Severomorsk.

They are the Russian navy’s newest large warships and both are armed with Tsirkon missiles, a hypersonic weapon with a said operational range of about 1,000 kilometers. Test flights of the missiles have not proven such distance.

Further west, outside the coast of northern Norway, warships from several NATO countries taking part in Steadfast Defender, the Alliance’s largest exercise in northern Europe in more than 30 years, are now sailing north for the Nordic Response, a Norway-led drill to train reinforcement inside the Arctic Circle in case of war.

Over 50 submarines, frigates, corvettes, an aircraft carrier and various amphibious vessels take part.

Norway monitoring movements 

As the exercise soon kicks off in Finnmark region, the Norwegians are closely monitoring movements by Russia’s Northern Fleet. Friday morning, a P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft flew a mission outside the Kola Peninsula.

Earlier this week, a Russian Il-38 flew mission over the Barents Sea the Northern Fleet informed. A long-range maritime surveillance Tu-142 was near Svalbard, other sources said.

Both NATO and Russian submarines are under the surface. Keeping track of each other is vital for situation awareness.

Submarine tracking exercise 

Frigate Admiral Gorshkov will conduct training, including tracking and searching for mock enemy submarines. The enemy role here will be performed by the Northern Fleet’s submarines in the Barents Sea, the headquarters in Severomorsk said. A similar note was published as Admiral Kasatonov entered the Barents Sea on Thursday.

The Northern Fleet earlier this week informed about its forces training coastal and landing operations with the Ivan Gren vessel. The exercise includes anti-underwater sabotage defense and practical navigation training in the Barents Sea’s coastal areas.

Related stories from around the North: 

Canada : Canadian military says it has tracked, stopped China surveillance in Arctic waters, The Canadian Press

FinlandRussian cyber attacks, espionage pose growing threat to Finnish national security, Yle news

IcelandIceland authorizes U.S. submarine service visits, Eye on the Arct

Norway: Russian jamming disrupting GPS signals for Norwegian aviation almost daily, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Russia’s brand new warship heads to Arctic base, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Swedes must mentally prepare for war, says military top brass, Radio Sweden

United States: U.S. nominates Alaskan as first Arctic ambassador, Eye on the Arctic

Thomas Nilsen, The Independent Barents Observer

For more news from the Barents region visit The Independent Barents Observer.

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