For ten days the Norwegian frigate “KNM Helge Ingstad” and the Russian destroyer “Vice-Admiral Kulakov” have been training together in the Barents Sea and Norwegian Sea. The main purpose of the exercise was to drill the crew in safety operations and to develop the good relationship between the Norwegian and the Russian Armed forces.
During the exercise Norwegian and Russian forces have practiced boarding operations, search and rescue, air defense, navigation and communication procedures. The vessels have also been engaged in joint shooting exercices.
Pleased flag officers The exercise ended in the Northern Norwegian town of Tromsø, were the vessel’s crew took part in celebration of Norway’s Constitution Day on May 17.
At a press conference in Tromsø Commander of the National Joint Headquarters General Bernt Brovold and Chief of Staff of the Western Military District Admiral Nikolay Maksimov both expressed satisfaction with the last day’s events, and underlined that cooperation is developing in a positive way:
- We are making new steps all the time, Admiral Maksimov said. At the same time, we are aware that not everything can go according to plan, he added and said that observers from both countries will discuss all aspects of the exercises in the coming days.
Coastal rangers and naval infantry in boarding drills Boarding operations were given high priority during the POMOR-2011. The Norwegian Coastal Ranger Command’s (Kystjegerkommandoen) boarding squad was embarked on “KNM Helge Ingstad”, while a similar squad from the 61. Naval Infantry Regiment was embarked on “Vice-Admiral Kulakov”. The two teams together boarded “KV Andenes”, which played the role as a suspiciously behaving and very little cooperative foreign cargo vessel on its way to Murmansk.
Fire aboard Coast Guard Vessel The Norwegian coast guard vessel KV Andenes took part in the exercise as training ground for the search and rescue part of the exercise. The vessel sent out a distress signal about a fire in the helicopter hangar which was intercepted by both “KNM Helge Ingstad” and “Vice-Admiral Kulakov”. Rescue teams from both vessels were shortly after aboard “KV Andenes” and started a well coordinated rescue operation where the two teams jointly managed to save three sailors from the burning hangar and treat them of smoke inhalation and burn wounds.
Victory day celebrations in Severomorsk As a run-up to POMOR-2011 personnel from “KNM Helge Ingstad” participated in the celebrations of Victory Day in Severomorsk, the Northern Fleet’s main base. 50 men and women from the Norwegian frigate took part in the grand parade in the center of the town.
Honouring fallen sailors On route from Severomorsk to Tromsø “KNM Helge Ingstad”, “KV Svalbard” and “Vice-Admiral Kulakov” held a ceremony to honour the memory of those who lost their lives at sea during WWII. The Arctic convoys have been described as some of the most dramatic and merciless military operations during the war.
Photos: Georg Austad, Jon Vaag Eikland and John Espen Lien.