Therefore, the Norwegian Air Force concluded that Norway basically has two choices: join NATO's much-debated missile shield or acquire a national missile defense system. Incidentally, this is the first time the Norwegian Air Force indicated its desire for a missile shield.
This places the Norwegian politicians between a rock and a hard place. A separate missile shield would be extremely expensive, even for oil-rich and well-to-do Norway. On the other hand, NATO's missile shield was previously criticized as stimulating a new nuclear arms race.
Meanwhile, both Evnes and Ørlandet, which are Norway's leading air bases, were identified as having crucial deficiencies in terms of security. Combat aircraft bases were recognized as the most likely targets, with missile attacks to be expected as the initial phase of a strategic attack against Norway. Based on data from the Norwegian Intelligence Service, tactical ballistic missiles (TMBs) have emerged as a new major threat.
"The future air force should either have its own capacity against TBMs or contribute to NATO's BMD architecture to address such threats," the Air Force wrote, as quoted by Klassekampen. BMD is the abbreviation for Ballistic Missile Defense, which is NATO's term for the missile shield.
Previously, Russia promised a sharp response in case Norway joins NATO's controversial missile shield. In March, Russia's ambassador to Norway Teimuraz Ramishvili said that such a decision would spur a lasting worsening of the relations between the neighboring countries. He also warned of "catastrophic results" for Europe and the whole world.
Over the past decade, Norway seems to have evolved from being an opponent against the missile shield to a keen supporter of NATO's plans. Ironically, the NATO Secretary General, former Norwegian Prime Minister and former Labor leader Jens Stoltenberg, was skeptical about the US missile defense system. For his speech against the missile defense system during a trip to Moscow in 2007, he was grilled in the Norwegian media for "showing a soft spot for the Russians."
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