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Britain announces new military base in Norway’s far north

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Britain announces new military base in Norway’s far north as a hub for Royal Marines Commandos who will be ‘the tip of the Arctic spear’ on NATO’s northern flank as Putin continues to threaten Europe

  • The Norwegian site, called Camp Viking, is locating 40 miles south of Tromso
  • Base can accommodate all personnel from elite commando-led Royal Marines

The UK has announced the opening of a military base in the far north of Norway as a hub for Royal Marine Commandos to strengthen NATO’s capabilities in the Arctic amid concerns following Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

The newly-established Norwegian site, called Camp Viking, is located around 40 miles south of Tromso, near the village of Øverbygd.

The purpose-built base will be able to accommodate all personnel from the elite commando-led Royal Marines force which reacts to emerging crises in Europe. 

The Britain’s Royal Navy described the troops as ‘the tip of the Arctic spear’ and ‘the unit the UK turns to when it needs troops able to fight in cold weather extremes’.

The commandos build on an Arctic warfare heritage going back to the Second World War but, with the re-emergence of the High North as a key theatre, needed new facilities for a modern era, the statement said.

The UK has announced the opening of a military base in the far north of Norway as a hub for Royal Marine Commandos. Pictured: British commandos are seen preparing for war in the Arctic in pictures released by the Royal Navy on Wednesday

The UK has announced the opening of a military base in the far north of Norway as a hub for Royal Marine Commandos. Pictured: British commandos are seen preparing for war in the Arctic in pictures released by the Royal Navy on Wednesday

‘The camp’s location is ideal for deterring threats in the region and situated so the UK can respond rapidly if needed to protect NATO’s northern flank and its close ally, Norway,’ a statement from the royal navy said on Wednesday.

‘The camp is strategically located next to a Norwegian Armed Forces base and near to the established air base at Bardufoss where the Commando Helicopter Force operates,’ it added.

The Commando Helicopter Force is the specialist aviation support for Royal Marines. 

‘A new Arctic operations base will support Britain’s commandos for the next 10 years as the UK underscores its commitment to security in the High North,’ the navy said.

Norway, which borders Russia, refuses to host permanent bases for foreign soldiers, so Camp Viking is due to remain open for just a decade. 

Around 1,000 commandos have deployed to the base this winter, which can accommodate all personnel from the UK’s Littoral Response Group (LRG).  

‘As the UK Commando Forces’ ‘home’ in the High North for the next decade, ‘Camp Viking’ is the focal point for delivery of Mountain and Cold Weather Warfare training and, strategically placed as a Forward Operating Base to support NATO operations,’ Major Kirk Allen, Officer Commanding of the Winter Deployment said.

‘Its use supports Littoral Response Group regional persistent engagement with key allies and partners as a collective conventional deterrent to adversaries.

Major Allen said the base was ‘capable of logistically sustaining an LRG of Royal Marines, sailors and soldiers,’ and that the location offers opportunities to train in local areas and for ‘amphibious operations’.

‘Impressively, Norway continue to invest in the site and the capability will only increase in its potential to support Commando Forces and wider UK Defence.’ 

The newly-established Norwegian site, called Camp Viking, is located around 40 miles south of Tromso, near the village of Øverbygd (depicted on this map)

The newly-established Norwegian site, called Camp Viking, is located around 40 miles south of Tromso, near the village of Øverbygd (depicted on this map)

The Britain's Royal Navy described the troops as 'the tip of the Arctic spear' and 'the unit the UK turns to when it needs troops able to fight in cold weather extremes'

The Britain’s Royal Navy described the troops as ‘the tip of the Arctic spear’ and ‘the unit the UK turns to when it needs troops able to fight in cold weather extremes’

Norway, which shares a 60-mile border with Russia, has provided Ukraine with a wide range of military equipment, including artillery and ammunition.

The Ukraine conflict prompted its neighbours Finland and Sweden to apply for NATO membership in May 2022, turning the page on policies of military non-alignment in force for decades.

Under Article 5 in its founding treaty, NATO and its members see ‘an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all.’

This means that all members would be expected to send forces in support of any NATO nation that is attacked by an enemy state, acting as a deterrent to any hostile nation considering aggression against its members. 

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