Thousands of soldiers from fourteen countries are now stationed in Central Norway to participate in the winter exercise Cold Response. Military commanders from different nations were invited to a distinguished visitors' day, Tuesday 1 March.
Among them was Lieutenant General Ben Hodges, Commander of the US Army Europe.
"Today, we witnessed a fantastic military display. This is a great example of Norway's capabilities", Lieutenant General Ben Hodges said.
A flying giant
From a frigate sailing in the Namsen Fjord, the visitors could see the giant of the exercise, an American B-52 Stratofortress, in a low altitude flyover across the fjord and over the town of Namsos.
The Bomber has a wingspan of 56 meters, and is one of three Bombers that the U.S. Air Force has deployed to Cold Response. The three aircrafts will support the ground forces during the exercise.
The B-52 participation is coordinated with the Norwegian Ministry of Defence and the Norwegian Armed Forces. The Bombers have participated in previous exercises in Norway, and Norwegian soldiers have good experience with the Bombers – including Afghanistan, where the aircraft provided fire support to the ground forces.
During the exercise, the American B-52s will be accompanied by 40 helicopters, 30 fighters and 10 other aircraft.
On the maritime side, 30 vessels will take part, while 1000 vehicles will be present on land.
Met the soldiers
After the flyover, the guests sailed to Namsos, where they got to meet soldiers from the different units participating in the exercise.
Commander of the Norwegian Joint Headquarters, Lieutenant General Rune Jakobsen, is the host of the exercise. He hopes that the allied forces will return to Norway in the future to take advantage of Norway's unique exercise conditions.
"For Norway it is important to train with allied forces. According to our security policies, we are dependent on NATO forces in order to defend Norway", Lieutenant General Jakobsen said.
Cold Response 2016
- A Norwegian winter exercise held for the seventh time. The exercise includes activities on land, at sea and in the air. 15,000 soldiers from fourteen nations participate.
- The exercise is held in the Trøndelag counties in Central Norway from 19 February to 22 March 2016. The main exercise phase is from 2 to 9 March.
- Norway is world-leading within winter warfare, and we therefore invite our allies and other cooperating nations to train under rough winter conditions. The exercise makes Norway and our partner countries better prepared in the event of an emergency.
- Participating materiel: 40 helicopters, 30 fighter jets, 3 naval patrol aircraft, 3 aerial refuelling aircraft, 3 transport aircraft and 3 strategic bombers. Sea and land: 30 naval vessels and more than 1,000 vehicles – including tanks, combat vehicles and trucks.