Guards on alert at Norway’s future Arctic drone base

A file photo of two A-10C Thunderbolt II aircraft assigned to the 104th Fighter Squadron, Maryland Air National Guard, prepare for takeoff from Andoya Air Base in May 12 2022. “The growing military-strategic significance of the base for Norway and NATO requires that we continue manned guarding,” says Norway’s defence minister. (Capt. Benjamin Hughes/175th Wing, Maryland Air National Guard)

The Norwegian government allocates additional funding for security at Andøya, the Arctic air base that soon will house long-range drones.

“Andøya plays an important role in national security, allied defence and technological development,” Norwegian Defence Minister Bjørn Arild Gram underlines in a statement following the allocation of 37,5 million kroner (€3,2 million) for protection of the far northern air base.

The allocation is made in the government’s revised national budget.

“The growing military-strategic significance of the base for Norway and NATO requires that we continue manned guarding,” the minister explains.

The former Norwegian government of Erna Solberg intended to close the Andøya base, but the full-scale invasion of Ukraine by Russia and increasingly tense relations in the North has fundamentally changed military planning in the region.

The far northern island located on the coast of the Norwegian Sea is now a top priority area for the Norwegian Armed Forces.

Drones will be operating as part of multinational cooperation 

A fleet of long-range drones is to be acquired and Andøya will serve as drone base.

The new base will be located in premises that previously housed Norway’s fleet of P-3 Orion surveillance aircrafts.

The new long-range drones are to provide surveillance also in connection with natural catastrophes and rescue operations. They are to be operated as part of a multinational allied cooperation that includes also training, management and development.

“The government has big ambitions for Andøya,” Minister Gram underlined as he announced the new drone base in April this year.

The island will also house an Arctic satellite station against enemy cruise missiles.

It will be built in cooperation with the Americans, and be the first of its kind outside the USA.

Related stories from around the North: 

Canada: Canada pledges billions for defence, falls short of NATO’s 2%, CBC News

Denmark: Denmark’s Arctic, North Atlantic focus: Canada among new defence attaché posts, Eye on the Arctic

Faroe Islands: Parliament passes Faroe Islands’ Arctic policy, Eye on the Arctic

Norway“Historical strengthening of our Armed Forces,” says Norway, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Russia’s Arctic policy at risk of major collapse, The Independent Barents Observer

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

United States: White House releases U.S. Arctic strategy implementation plan, Eye on the Arctic

Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer

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

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