08 May 2018

UK and Norway defence ministers plan sub-hunting co-operation

The UK and Norway advanced their plans for international Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) co-operation in the North Atlantic following a meeting on-board an American P-8A Poseidon.

Defence Minister Guto Bebb hosted Secretary Tone Skogen, State Secretary in Norway’s Ministry of Defence, on her visit aboard a US Navy P-8A Poseidon aircraft – equipment which both the UK and Norway will soon own themselves.

The allies ramped up discussions around how the nations will work together and might deploy their submarine-hunting aircraft fleet in the future. Areas of co-operation could range from maintenance to training and operations, which would not only cut costs but also boost operational power in the North Atlantic, a key area of submarine activity.

Investing £3 billion in the capability over the next decade, the UK is buying nine of the Boeing-built aircraft, whilst Norway are getting five. Their key role for the UK will be to protect the country’s submarine-based nuclear deterrent and its two new aircraft carriers – the Poseidons deploy sonobuoys to help them detect submarines, and can fire anti-ship missiles and launch torpedoes to destroy submarines.

Defence Minister Guto Bebb said: “These sub-hunters will take to the skies from RAF Lossiemouth and help us combat a range of intensifying threats, not least increasing submarine activity in the North Atlantic.

“We’re investing £3 billion in our own capability, but working alongside Norway takes this to a higher level. Not only could we cut costs by sharing training, spares and repair facilities, but we can patrol the seas together, meaning we’ve got more eyes and ears on any potential aggressors.”

image © Crown Copyright

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