UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has announced a new cooperation with Norway on maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) and exercises, to enhance operational effectiveness and boost defence ties.
In last year’s Strategic Defence and Security Review, UK and Norway committed on working closely to bolster maritime cooperation.
As part of the commitment, the UK announced the procurement of nine Boeing P8 MPA, to be based in Scotland to enhance situational awareness in areas such as the North Atlantic, as well as protect the UK’s nuclear deterrent and two new aircraft carriers.
Fallon said: “Britain needs maritime patrol aircraft to keep watch over the seas. As part of our £178bn defence equipment programme, we have committed to new maritime patrol aircraft that are able to monitor threats to Britain and our armed forces.
“By stepping up cooperation with Norway on maritime patrol, we will help keep Britain safer and more secure.”
During the review, Norway announced the procurement of a new submarine fleet and MPA under a long term plan aimed at bolstering maritime surveillance capability.
Norwegian Defence Minister Ine Eriksen Soereide was quoted by Reuters as saying: "Given our geographical vicinity and common challenges in connection to the strategic situation in the North Atlantic, we are well positioned for future cooperation in maritime surveillance.
"The continuation of capacity for surveillance and anti-submarine operations are important for Nato and close allies."
Fallon has also signed a new agreement seeking the support of Norway for conducting exercises on Norwegian soil to increase the nations' ability to exercise, train and operate together.
Image: UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon boards a Norwegian Maritime Patrol Aircraft with his counterpart, Ine Marie Eriksen Søreide. Photo: courtesy of Norwegian Armed Forces.