Norway Setting Up ‘NATO’s Eyes in the North’

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norway radar network, nato’s eyes in the north, electronic warfare, continuous suveillance

norway radar network, nato’s eyes in the north, electronic warfare, continuous suveillance

The new network of eight radars under construction across Norway is touted as means of expanding the range of continuous surveillance of both Norwegian and surrounding air space, including on behalf of the NATO alliance.

The Norwegian Defence Estates Agency (NDEA), a government body under the Defense Ministry, has presented construction plans for a radar chain designed to enhance Norway’s own radioelectronic capacity and, by extension, NATO’s.

The very first facility in the new chain commissioned by the parliament as part of a drastic upgrade of the country’s radar network will be built at Gyrihaugen in Ringerike municipality north of Oslo and by the fall of 2025, with work already underway. The slopes of Gyrihaugen mountain, a popular tourist attraction, were closed this winter due to construction work.

“NDEA is to build a total of eight new radars across the country. The new radar systems will help to strengthen Norway’s defense capability, and be NATO’s eyes in the north,” project leader Ylva Sneve said.

Overall, the armed forces are to invest NOK 8 billion ($720 million) in the eight new radar systems spread across the country from Ringerike in the south to Vardo in the north and operated by the country’s air force. Five of them will be established in new locations, while three existing radar stations will undergo a dramatic upgrade.

Combined with the use of combat aircraft and ground-based air defence, it secures Norway’s airspace, and it strengthens the freedom of action of its military forces, the country’s Defense Ministry said in a press release. According to it, the new radars will enable the Norwegian Armed Forces to maintain its continuous surveillance of both Norwegian and surrounding air space.

“Airplanes, missiles, and drones have become an important part of modern warfare. It is therefore of the utmost importance to have systems that can monitor this domain. Not only for ourselves, but also for our allies in NATO. These new radars will improve the range of our view considerably,” Defense Minister Bjorn Arild Gram said in a previous statement.

In 2022, then-Defense Minister Frank Bakke-Jensen admitted that a large part of today’s radars were “rapidly approaching the end of their service life” and must be renewed to meet the challenges of the future.

Why Are Norwegian Radars So Important?

In November 2022, the Norwegian Defence Material Agency (NDMA) entered into a contract with Lockheed Martin for the delivery of the eight radars for airspace surveillance, with an option of three additional ones. Under the contract, three regional technical maintenance centres will be established to monitor the condition of the sensors. Delivery of the radars is to be completed by 2030.
USS Gerald Ford  - Sputnik International, 1920, 23.05.2023

World’s Largest US Warship Pending Symbolic Port Call to Oslo
The close cooperation between the US and Norway has been highlighted by the recent port call in Oslo by the USS Gerald Ford, the world’s largest warship, during its first operational voyage ever. The port call was dubbed “a clear expression of security guarantees through NATO” by Norwegian officials. US ambassador to Norway Marc Nathanson, for his part, stressed Norway’s role in the alliance as a founding member and the described it as the US’s “go-to” partner in the Nordic region.
Among others, Norway is home to the extensive Globus radar system. While it is formally operated by the Norwegian Intelligence Service under the premise of space observation and Arctic airspace monitoring for Norway’s national interest, the site’s close proximity to Russia‘s North Fleet and its naval bases on the Kola Peninsula, as well as extensive involvement in both construction and funding, have led to the assumption that it also serves as part of the US missile defense system.





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