The new special unit will have the name HRS Nord (Rapid Reaction Force North) and will be based in Setermoen in Troms County. It will consist of about 700 enlisted soldiers and is planned to be operational in 2017.
The core of the new unit will be developed around an existing armored battalion and a motorized infantry battalion and will have CV90 combat vehicles and Leopard 2 tanks.
“HRS Nord is an answer to the need for higher degree of professionalism in the Norwegian Armed Forces”, Minister of Defense Ine Eriksen Søreide says to Dagbladet. “Operations that the soldiers will take part in, are becoming more demanding and complex. Weapon systems are becoming more complex. We are depending on having people longer in work than what has been the case so far”.
Søreide believes the establishment of the unit will give the Norwegian Armed Forces increased capacity to participate in international operations in addition to strengthening the national preparedness.
Norway has only one other professional rapid reaction force, the Telemark Battalion. It was established in 1993 and is based in Rena in the southern parts of the country. The battalion is part of Northern Brigade (Brigade Nord), Norway’s only army brigade, which has its headquarters in mid-Troms in northern Norway.
Norway has a system of conscription in the armed forces, but uses only enlisted personnel in missions abroad. The Telemark Battalion has served in Bosnia and Afghanistan.