Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Norwegian Frigate HNoMS Fridtjof Nansen Returns Home from successful deployment to the Pacific



In the beginning of October, HNoMS Fridtjof Nansen returned back to her homeport, Haakonsvern Naval Base in Norway, after a four and a half month long deployment.
This summer, the frigate and her crew participated in the world's largest international maritime exercise, Rim of The Pacific 2014 (RIMPAC) in the waters off Hawaii.
Chief of the Royal Norwegian Navy, Rear Admiral Lars Saunes. Photo: Morten Opedal, RNoNChief of the Royal Norwegian Navy, Rear Admiral Lars Saunes. Photo: Morten Opedal, RNoN

The journey to join the exercise has taken the frigate across the Atlantic, through the Panama Canal, halfway across the Pacific to the waters of Hawaii – and back. The deployment saw the frigate cover more than 12,000 nautical miles and visit a number of ports including San Diego, Santo Domingo, Nassau, Baltimore and Halifax.

Maintaining Alliances
"For a navy that normally operates in Norwegian home waters and along NATO's European borders, the deployment to the Pacific Ocean is important for several reasons", said Rear Admiral Lars Saunes, Chief of the Royal Norwegian Navy.
He pointed out that Norway's relationship to its most important ally, the United States, also requires involvement where the U.S. Navy has challenges, and that this deployment shows Norwegian commitment.
"To build an alliance, we need to be credible, and the U.S. needs to know that we will come to their support if need be," said Rear Admiral Saunes.
"This deployment is an investment in our national security. A close relationship with our main naval ally, the U.S. Navy, founded on mutual respect and understanding, is of vital importance to a maritime nation such as Norway."
International deployment is part of the Norwegian frigate's normal tasks. As a nation with global maritime interests and a vibrant maritime sector – an important part of the country's prosperity and development – Norway has an interest in contributing to securing freedom of the seas.
"While being advanced, multi-role warships with capabilities suitable for the traditional national defense tasks, our frigates have contributed to operations such as counter piracy in the Bay of Aden and securing the removal of chemical agents from Syria," said Read Admiral Saunes.
"For a nation with global maritime interests, our Pacific deployment is in many ways a normal occurrence, albeit never before to this particular stretch of ocean."

Lone European
The HNoMS Fridtjof Nansen was the lone naval vessel to sail from Europe to RIMPAC, and the first vessel from Norway to participate in the multinational maritime exercise held in and around the Hawaiian Islands.
"RIMPAC is an exercise that focuses on collaboration between the participants in solving challenges such as natural disasters, large peacekeeping missions and maritime security in regard to counter piracy," said Rear Admiral Saunes.
"This exercise has given us valuable training in a multinational context, together with navies we do not normally interact with."
Also, almost all weapon systems were tested, including a successful live firing of the Norwegian-developed and highly advanced Naval Strike Missile. The NSM, a long-range precision-strike surface-to-surface missile, developed by Kongsberg Defense Systems, was tested in a tropical environment for the first time.

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