Military watchdog-website Aldrimer gives report that a lone, military American support airplane has arrived at Andøya Air Station; tasked with preparing the air station for the pending arrival of a further 5 U.S. surveillance aircraft and supporting U.S. military.
The military airplane, a U.S. Navy C-40A Clipper, touched down at Andøya air station yesterday, June 7th. Website Aldrimer.no states that the U.S. military conveyed an unspecified number of personnel to the station in preparation for US backed NATO surveillance air patrols.
CRITICAL LABOUR SHORTAGES
A full contingent of U.S. military personnel and equipment are expected to be in full operation at Andøya’s Air Station by the end of this month.
The Andøya air station is due for decommission in 2022; with operations moving to a new airbase at Evenes. However, Andøya’s pending fate has impacted the availability of both skilled and unskilled labour; reducing the available workforce personnel at the airport to critically low levels.
Last week, Norwegian Defense Chief Haakon Hanssen gave statement saying that the skeleton workforce at the Andøya airfield couldn’t maintain the station; thus prompting the U.S. response to partially assume Norway’s NATO duties in the High North.
The U.S. Pentagon has decreed that NATO’s northern force needs the 5 additional surveillance aircraft, along with a minimum of 20 fighter aircraft.
The United States will fund NOK 2.8b to reinforce those air capabilities at Andøya.
U.S. 2nd FLEET
Just a month ago, the United States Navy announced the reestablishment of the US navy 2nd Fleet; mandated to patrol the US East Coast & North Atlantic Ocean.
Admiral John Richardson, chief of U.S. naval operations, gave statement of the US 2nd Fleets reactivation, saying ‘Our National Defense Strategy makes it clear that we’re in an era of great power competition as security environments continue to grow more challenging and complex.’ –
‘That’s why we’re activating our 2nd Fleet; to address these changes, particularly in the North Atlantic; including the Norwegian Sea & Barents Sea,’ stated Richardson.
Norway & Russia share a 23.2 kilometer maritime border in the Varangerfjord (about half-way between Spitsbergen and the North Pole).
40 YEAR RUSSIAN DISPUTE
In 2010, Russia & Norway signed a treaty that ended a 40-year dispute over shared maritime borders within the Barents Sea. Both countries had claimed a 175,000 sq km (67,567 sq mile) zone (about half the size of Germany) within the Barents Sea,and the 2010 treaty divided the disputed area equally between both nations.
Andøya Air Station is home to 333 Squadron (Norway’s only surveillance squadron) of the Norwegian air force and is the primary airborne defense for northern Norway.
© NTB scanpix / #Norway Today