More than 5000 soldiers of all services have deployed to Finnmark to conduct a large-scale joint exercise in arduous sub-arctic winter conditions. The 10-days exercise will end on the 18th of March.
Norway is conducting the largest military exercise in the Finnmark county since 1967.
– The purpose of Joint Viking is to train build-up and deployment of a joint combat force in order to gain experience in conducting operations on own territory, says commander National Joint Headquarters, Lieutenant General Morten Haga Lunde.
Conducting exercises in relevant and challenging environments and conditions is essential for mission success. The topography and the climatic conditions in Finnmark make cooperation between army, air and navy challenging, but interesting.
– Joint Viking is all about jointness. This implies the integration and coordination of all activity in time and space; on land, in the air and at sea, under one unified command. Joint integration maximizes combat capability and efficiency. It is an important part of building a military threshold, says Haga Lunde.
The Norwegian Armed Forces are capable of operating in harsh conditions and in all parts of the country. Success in operations requires regular training. Through frequent training, exercising and live firing in all parts of the country, the Norwegian Armed Forces are demonstrating true military power and capability.
Lieutenant General Morten Haga Lunde, stresses that maintaining situational awareness of own territories, both on land, at sea and in the air is essential:
– It is important for a sovereign and independent state to exercise authority and control in all parts of its territory. A prerequisite for control is surveillance combined with continuous military presence, he says.
There are speculations whether Joint Viking is a response to the situation in the Ukraine.
– The exercise was planned prior to the crisis in the Ukraine. However, the current security situation in Europe shows that the exercise is more relevant than ever, says Haga Lunde.
– I believe that a firm and visible military presence in Norway´s areas of responsibility is important. It is our obligation. Military presence in the High North has a stabilizing effect ensuring that the region remains an area of low tension, he concludes.