The British Government has partnered with the Norwegian Government to enhance the existing long-range precision strike capabilities of the UK Royal Navy (RN) fleet.

This was announced by UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace during a meeting with Norwegian Defence Minister Bjørn Arild Gram in Oslo.

The meeting was held aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth in the presence of other Northern Group defence ministers to discuss issues such as the implications of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Sweden and Finland’s Nato membership plans, and Northern Europe’s security developments.

Wallace said: “This new agreement cements our partnership with one of our closest allies, whilst strengthening our RN with new surface-to-surface strike capability.”

As part of the new collaboration, the RN’s several frigates and destroyers will be equipped with Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace-developed fifth-generation naval strike missile (NSM).

The vessels include 11 Type 23 or Duke-class frigates and Type 45 or Daring-class destroyers.

The 4m-long NSM can escape enemy’s radar/defence systems with its sea-skimming altitude and evasive manoeuvres.

It will replace the UK’s current Harpoon surface-to-surface missiles that are scheduled for retirement next year.

Initially, the new strike missiles will be equipped onto three vessels and the first ship with NSM capability is expected to enter in service in the coming 12 months.

Once the new missiles are delivered by Kongsberg, the associated integration work will be carried out by BAE Systems and Babcock International in the UK dockyards.

The new agreement will further strengthen the defence cooperation between the two nations. It is also expected to enhance the maritime security in the UK-Norway common areas of interests. 

Gram said: “Both nations have established a designated team with a strong mandate to ensure success of this common effort.”