Foreign Policy

Arctic Competitors – Half Two

August 27, 2020

Russian war games in the Bering Sea

The Russian Navy conducted major war games near Alaska with more than 50 warships, about 40 aircraft, and several missile launches.

During the exercises, Russia’s Pacific guided missile submarine Omsk appeared in the Bering Sea off the coast of Alaska (discovered on St. Matthew Island). Russian media claimed the surfacing was “routine,” but the novelty of spotting Russian submarines this close to the US coast still raised the alarm among US authorities.

September 11th to 17th, 2018

Vostok-18 exercises in Eastern Russia

The exercises took place mainly in Eastern Russia and partly in the Bering Sea.

The exercises included a total of 300,000 soldiers, 1,000 fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters. 80 ships; and 36,000 tanks, making it Russia’s largest military exercise since 1981.

Chinese and Mongolian armed forces took part in some exercises alongside Russian troops. China sent 3,200 employees, 1,000 military vehicles and other equipment, and 30 fixed and rotary wing aircraft. The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) unit participated in joint campaign drills simulating defense and counter-offensive operations in the Zabaykalsky region near the Mongolian border.

September 2019

Tsentr-19 military exercises

As part of major military exercises in central Russia, the Northern Fleet conducted several cises in the Arctic that included newly developed Arctic-specific military equipment.

The total exercises included 128,000 land troops, 20,000 pieces of equipment, 600 aircraft and 15 warships. These were troops from China, India, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan.

Prior to the launch of Tsentr-19, Russia launched an additional military exercise with 500 troops on the Bolshevik Island off Russia’s central Arctic coast.

April 25, 2020

Russian military exercise in the high north islands

An exercise was carried out throughout Franz Josef Land, a Russian archipelago of largely uninhabited islands in the high Arctic near Canada’s own chain of islands in the far north.

Paratroopers jumped 10,000 meters from an Ilyushin Il-76 transport plane and tested new equipment designed for operations in extremely cold weather.

15th August 2019

Russian naval exercise in the Norwegian sea

30 Russian naval vessels took part in the naval operation, including surface ships, submarines, tugs, and service and supply vessels.

The Norwegian Defense Chief Haakon Bruun-Hansen said the aim of the exercise was to block NATO’s access to the Baltic, North and Norwegian Seas.

The deployed Russian armed forces consisted of ships from the Northern Fleet, the Baltic Sea Fleet and the Black Sea Fleet. The same ships took part in the Ocean Shield 2019 exercise in the Baltic Sea earlier this month.

October 2019

Grom-19 military exercise

One major exercise focused on the involvement of Russia’s strategic nuclear forces. It included ten Russian submarines – eight of which were powered by nuclear power – patrolling the GIUK void, all four Russian naval fleets, and 12,000 soldiers. The largest such demonstration since the Cold War.

Russian submarines were sighted between Svalbard and Finnmark in the northernmost part of mainland Norway, guarding the entrance to the eastern part of the Barents Sea and the northern Norwegian Sea.

19th August 2019

Ocean shield exercise in the Baltic Sea

The Russian Navy exercises included 49 warships and combat boats, 20 auxiliary ships, 58 aircraft and 10,634 members of the armed forces.

The drill training focused on the deployment of naval forces and assessed the Navy’s readiness to defend access to Russian territory and waters across the Baltic Sea.

4th March 2020

ICEX 2020 exercise in the Arctic Ocean

The US Navy conducted a three-week exercise every two weeks to assess their readiness for action in the Arctic and to train with partner countries.

The exercise spanned five nations (UK, Canada, Japan, Norway and the US), two submarines and more than 100 participants. The two submarines performed multiple arctic transits and a north pole during the exercise.

March 2019

Operation Nanook Nunalivut in Northern Canada

Canada conducted exercises in preparation for the Arctic with around 500 employees to test the survival skills and logistics of the Arctic. Activities included remote patrols, ice diving, and creating runways on the sea ice.

Divers from France, Norway, Finland and Sweden took part in the exercise.

The operation also focused on scientific research such as cold weather injuries, the use of satellites for search and rescue, and the improvement of cold weather protection systems.

September 2020

British-led naval exercise off the Arctic coast of Russia

Under the leadership of the United Kingdom, US and Norwegian ships took part in war games in the Barents Sea near the headquarters of the Russian Northern Fleet.

The exercises took place in international waters but included elements within the exclusive economic zone of 200 nautical miles claimed by Russia.

August 21, 2020

The US Navy publicly announced the visit of the USS Seawolf Submarine to Norway

The US Navy made the rare decision to post a visit to Norway by the state-of-the-art, world-class USS Seawolf to demonstrate American underwater capabilities in the region.

This marked the first time the Navy had published photos of the USS Seawolf in five years.

March 2nd 2020

Cold Response 2020 Arctic War Games

Norway conducted major military exercises, including 16,000 from Norway, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and the USA. The foreign armed forces accounted for around 6,000 of the participating troops.

The exercises focused on high intensity combat scenarios in demanding winter conditions and focused on training to improve joint amphibian skills.

October 2018

Trident Juncture military exercises in Norway

NATO allies conducted exercises in Norway with a total of 50,000 soldiers – the largest military exercise in Norway in more than a decade. The exercises included 65 ships and 250 aircraft, in which all 29 NATO countries (North Macedonia was not a NATO country at the time of the exercise) as well as Finland and Sweden participated.

The war games focused on hypothetical scenarios in which Norway needed protection from invasion through land and sea borders.

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