04:54 GMT23 January 2021
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    Of late, Norway seems to have caught the common Russophobia bacillus from its neighbor Sweden. First came "Russian hackers" who allegedly are prying into Norwegian state secrets. Then "invisible" Russian submarines that lurk in Arctic waters arrived.

    In a recent threat assessment by the Norwegian Intelligence Service, Russia's rearmament and modernization of its military forces was pointed out as a danger for Norway's security. Norwegian security bosses were particularly alarmed by the state-of-the-art Russian submarines are next to invisible.

    "We are seeing an increase in Russian submarine activity, with Russian vessels venturing further westwards. Also, owing to the use of advanced technology, Russian submarines are becoming increasingly difficult to detect," Lieutenant General Morten Haga Lunde of the Norwegian Intelligence Service told Norwegian national broadcaster NRK.

    According to NRK, newly developed Russian submarines move almost silently underwater, using special turbines that are next to noiseless.

    "Russia has undergone a dramatic upgrade in recent years. The Russians have new submarines, surface ships, aircraft and arms," Lunde told NRK.

    While the Norwegian Intelligence Service admitted that Russia posed no direct military threat, it nevertheless pledged to follow its vast neighbor's defense developments, citing the possibility of a conflict in northern seas, which is likely to engulf Norway. Taking cue from the Norwegian Police Security Service, which last week warned its compatriots about the dangers Russian hackers allegedly posed, The Norwegian Intelligence Service ventured that Russia and China posed the greatest threat to Norway in the field of cyber security, NRK reported.

    Similarly to Sweden's case, whose military bosses keep intimidating their compatriots with unseen Russian subs lurking in the Baltic Sea, untraceable cyberattacks and "undetectable" Russian submarines and are a convenient pretext for launching military upgrades of its own. Russia's alleged military activities in the far north, indeed, triggered Norway's response.

    Last week, Norway chose Germany's ThyssenKrupp to supply four submarines for its navy amid what was called Russia's "unpredictable behavior." According to a future contract to be signed at some point in 2019, Germany is therefore expected to deliver four submarines to the Norwegian Navy, effectively replacing six German-built Ula subs, which entered service between 1989 and 1992, the Norwegian daily Aftenposten reported.

    Whereas Norwegian Defense Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide refused to disclose the amount of the contract, the Norwegian tabloid newspaper Verdens Gang estimated it at 30 billion NOK ($3.7bln), venturing that the Armed Forces should have bought "at least six" submarines to successfully hold the fort.

    In June 2016, the Norwegian government announced it would grant an additional 165 billion kroner ($18.7bln) to its armed forces over 20 years. As part of the ongoing overhaul, the Norwegian Armed Forces are to replace ageing F-16 jets with up to 52 F-35 fighters, buy five maritime surveillance aircraft and dramatically renew its submarine fleet.


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    navy, submarine, ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS), Scandinavia, Germany, Russia, Arctic, Norway
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