US surveillance planes flew over Norwegian airspace after a mission outside Russian nuclear subbases

The security crisis in Europe has repercussions on the North.

After joint training with a pair of Norwegian F-35 fighter jets over the Troms region inside the Arctic Circle on Wednesday, the US RC-135W aircraft continued into international airspace at above the Barents Sea and took a well-known lookout route just north of Russia’s Kola Peninsula.

Along the coast are the powerful bases of the Northern Fleet for nuclear-powered submarines and surface warships.

The Barents Observer tracked the plane via FlightRadar24 after the Nordlys newspaper published a photo taken by a local earlier today showing the RC-135 wing by wing with the F-35s over Ringvassøya.

At 12:45 (Norwegian time) the American plane was north of Murmansk on the return flight. Flying northwest over the Barents Sea, the aircraft suddenly turned south from international airspace and entered Norwegian airspace just north of Honningsvåg. The plane flew south over Sørøya, Kvænangen and further towards the Ofoten area at 32,000 feet.

It continued on to the Norwegian mainland over Trøndelag en route to Mildenhall military airbase in Britain.

Norwegian Air Force spokesman Lt. Col. Eivind Byre confirms to the Barents Observer that there was joint training in the air earlier today.

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“It was training with American and Norwegian planes over Norwegian airspace today. What the Americans did after training, in international airspace, is something we can’t. respond,” Lt. Col. Byre said.

He declined to comment further on the KC-135’s return flight over mainland Norway, as seen on FlightRadar24.

The plane landed at Mildenhall Air Base in north London at 4.50pm Norwegian time.

The Barents Observer has requested comment from the Ministry of Defense and will update this article as soon as the official response is available.

Norway was one of the 12 founding members of NATO. But, being a small nation with a direct land border with the Soviet Union, since 1949 Norway has balanced its security relationship with the much larger neighbor to the east on deterrence and reassurance.

No nuclear weapons on Norwegian soil, no foreign military bases and strict limitations on the exercise possibilities of other NATO countries in the eastern part of the Finnmark region. As part of the policy of reassurance with the Soviet Union, now Russia, Allied intelligence missions north of the Kola Peninsula, were not allowed to take off or land at Norwegian airports. Therefore, such UK or US missions have taken place from airbases in the UK and the flight north has always been outside Norwegian airspace.

All airspace outside 12 nautical miles of a coastal state’s baseline is international airspace where all nations are permitted to fly.

Russian military activity

Last week, Russia tested its nuclear triad, including a Sineva ballistic missile launched from a Delta-IV submarine in the Barents Sea and a land-mobile Yars missile launched from the Plesetsk cosmodrome in the Arkhangelsk region. .

For this week, November 3-5, two larger areas over the Barents Sea and the White Sea are closed with NOTAM warnings. It is not said what type of military activity will take place, more than a mention of “rocket fire” for the area west of Novaya Zemlya.

Russia has closed two larger areas in the north for the November 3-5 period. One Notice to Air Missions (NOTAM) is active over the Barents Sea west of Novaya Zemlya, while another is active over the White Sea north of Arkhangelsk. Source: NotamMap / Barents Observer

On November 1, the government in Oslo decided to increase the readiness of the Norwegian Armed Forces.

“We are facing the most serious security situation we have seen in decades. There are no signs that Russia intends to expand its war to other countries, but rising tensions mean we are more exposed to threats, espionage and foreign influence operations. This forces all NATO countries, including Norway, to be more vigilant,” said Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre.

Speaking at the Nordic Council meeting in Helsinki on Wednesday, Norwegian Defense Minister Bjørn Arild Gram said Russia’s brutal war against Ukraine is bringing lasting changes to the security situation in the Nordic region. .

The minister underlined the importance of Nordic defense cooperation.

“Finland and Sweden joining NATO will mark the beginning of a new era in Nordic security policies,” Gram said.

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