The British navy Duke-class frigate HMS Kent and the U.S. navy combat support ship USNS Supply were two of the vessels sailing in the Barents Sea in 2020. Photo: Dan Rosenbaum

Royal Navy to sail Barents Sea with multinational task force

NATO warships plan for a new voyage to waters important for Russia’s powerful Northern Fleet.
March 11, 2021

A British frigate will join a multinational task force in the Barents Sea in the coming months, The Times reports.

Which other nations will take part is not said.

Colonel Lieutenant Vegard Norstad Finberg with Norway’s Ministry of Defense says to the Barents Observer he can’t comment on other nations’ planned operations.

“The same goes for our own planed operations,” he says.

“Norway has good cooperation with the UK as a close alliance partner. This is clearly shown with joint training and exercise activities, as well as through operations cooperation,” Norstad Finberg says.

Last September, the British Navy led a four-nation Barents Sea mission. Royal Navy frigate HMS Sutherland and the auxiliary ship RFA Tidespring sailed together into waters north of the Kola Peninsula together with the Norwegian frigate KNM Thor Heyerdahl and the U.S. Navy destroyer USS Ross. Demark participated in the mission with a maritime patrol aircraft. 

This was the first time after the breakup of the Soviet Union that several NATO surface vessels sailed close to the Russian Northern Fleet’s strategical important naval bases northwest of Murmansk.

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According to The Times, the Royal Navy will have a regular presence in the Arctic Circle to counter Russian strategic advantage over trade routes that are opening as the ice cap melts.

Next week, London is expected to release an updated review of British defense, security and foreign policy.

Over the last year, Russia’s navy has on several occasions sailed warships and auxiliary vessels near Moray Firth, Scotland, where one of the country’s important air force bases is located.

 

In September 2020, the British navy led the four-nation task group of warships and aircraft into the Barents Sea. Photo: Royal Navy

 

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