For the first time in history, Norwegian and Russian warships have conducted joint shooting exercises. POMOR 2010, the first joint Norwegian-Russian naval exercises since 1994, today entered the active phase.
Two Russian and Norwegian warships today practiced firing live artillery and machine gun rounds at simulated surface and aerial targets in waters west of Norway.
- The exercises are historical, says Commanding Officer of the exercises Commodore Henning Amundsen on the Norwegian Armed Forces’ web site. – It is the first time the Norwegian and the Russian navies have joint shooting drills, he explains.
The Northern Fleet’s anti-submarine destroyer “Severomorsk” practiced firing live 100 mm artillery rounds at simulated surface targets, while the Norwegian frigate “KNM Otto Sverdrup” fired with 12.7 mm heavy machine guns on simulated aerial targets.
- The Russians shot very well, and had several direct hits, says Commander of the “KNM Otto Sverdrup” Captain Per Morten Sandquist.
Cross-deck swaps and personnel exchange During the exercises Russian and Norwegian helicopters will be conducting so-called cross-deck swaps, where Russian helicopters land on the Norwegian vessel and vice versa, the Northern Fleet’s press secretary Vadim Serga says to RIA Novosti.
The two navies will also be exchanging personnel, Serga says. Every morning five people from each side go by boat or helicopter to the other vessel and spend the day there, learning about the other navy’s service and onboard life while taking part in the exercises. – This helps the sailors to learn about the other side in order to be able to cooperate more effectively in the future, he explains.
Intensive combat training and a continued presence in the world’s oceans are priorities for the Russian Navy, Russian news agency RIA Novosti writes. In the second half of 2010, Russian warships will take part in a number of large-scale naval drills, continue patrolling the pirate-troubled waters off the Somali coast and make about 50 foreign port calls, the news agency reports.