06:07 GMT +313 December 2019
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    Norway Announces Army Modernization, Creation of Northern Air Defense

    © AFP 2019 / YIANNIS KOURTOLGOU
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    The Norwegian Army noted that it holds a “special responsibility" within NATO as "the gatekeepers towards the Arctic.”

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The Norwegian Army announced on Friday its largest modernization since the 1940s, as well as the establishment of a new and modern air defense system.

    “When completed, the Norwegian Army will have a fleet of modern tanks and fighting vehicles that are fully network enabled, with increased firepower, mobility and protection. Together with a new mobile air-defense system, the war fighting capabilities of the Norwegian Army will be significantly improved,” the army said in a statement.

    The air defense system will be a part of Norway's Artillery Battalion, based in the northern county of Troms. The battalion also participates in NATO’s Response Force.

    The Norwegian Army noted that it holds a “special responsibility" within the alliance as "the gatekeepers towards the Arctic.”

    The modernized version of the army is set to be operational by 2020, with total investment estimated at approximately $1.7 billion.

    Norwegian Defense Minister Ine Eriksen Soreide said in October 2014 that the country’s armed forces need a major overhaul in light of Russia’s rearmament and “willingness to use force,” and widespread political instability in the Middle East and North Africa.

    Earlier in April, Norwegian Defense Chief Haakon Bruun-Hanssen stated that Russia is a challenge for the Norwegian Army, though Oslo does not currently view Moscow as a threat.

    Norway, alongside other NATO states, suspended all military cooperation with Moscow last year following Crimea's reunification with Russia.

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    Tags:
    NATO, air defense systems, modernization, NATO Response Force, Arctic, Norway
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