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Sjoforsvaret / Royal Norwegian Navy

Norway has a very long coastline and has responsibility, interests and obligations in a sea area that is about seven times as large as mainland area. The Navy works daily to ensure Norwegian sovereignty and contribute to exercising national authority. The exercise of authority is made up in to enforce the Norwegian sovereign rights in accordance with the the international sea Law Convention and to Norwegian law. Resource control, environmental control, support to other State enforcement and preventive activities are key activities. The Navy is to be an appropriate security policy tools to safeguard maritime tasks in peace, crisis and war, both in the national and international context.

During the Cold War, the Norwegian navy was responsible for the defense of the long the Baltic and Barents Seas. It defended the Norwegian coast against attack by nearby Soviet sea and air forces and for operations on two vital sea routes -- the approaches to the Baltic and Barents Seas.

The Royal Norwegian Navy consists of the Navy, the Coast Guard and the Coastal Artillery. The Royal Norwegian Navy produces naval forces and provides maritime capabilities for operational deployment in peacetime, crisis and war both nationally and internationally. The Navy is led by the Inspector General, supported by the Naval Staff. The Navy is divided into: the Fleet, the Coast Guard, the naval schools and the naval bases. All naval forces are under the operational command of the Commanders of the Armed Forces South Norway and North Norway (COMSONOR and COMNON) in their respective areas. Ships of the Royal Norwegian Navy play a part across the whole spectrum of tasks, both in peacetime and in time or crisis or war. In addition the Navy and the Coastguard together provide Search and Rescue and other valuable services to civil shipping in case of emergency.

The tasks of the Coast Guard cover the exercise of Norwegian sovereignty and authority with regard to fishery protection and the administration of economic activities on the continental shelf and in other Norwegian waters. Other tasks include Search and Rescue, environmental protection and providing assistance in the form of inspection and other services both to other government agencies and to the civil community. The Inshore Coast Guard was established in 1996 with the principal task of patrolling inside Norwegian territorial waters and assisting in the exercise of authority, oil spillage and other environmental protection, the inspection of shipping including foreign vessels, customs and excise duties and providing assistance to the police.

The main task of the Coastal Artillery is to block fjords leading to strategic towns and harbors. This is the reason why Coastal Artillery forts are placed at the entrances to such fjords. In addition to this protection against seaborne invasion, the Coastal Artillery's mobile units are important elements in the defence of areas of particular importance to our general defence capability.

The Coast Guard operates 15 vessels of various types, sizes and capabilities. All the vessels are homeported at the Norwegian Coast Guard Base in Sortland, Northern Norway. They are operated through a dual-crew concept, resulting in an operational pattern with more than 300 sea days for each vessel a year.

Reduced access on the Lynx helicopters, as a result of helicopter age, meant that the helicopters were not so available for Coast Guard vessels as desired. It is nevertheless carried out some more flying hours than originally planned. The last Lynx helicopter was phased out 7. December 2014, and new helicopter capacity is first available on the vessels in the summer of 2015. The Navy in 2002 consisted of four frigates, ten submarines, 15 missile craft/fast patrol boats, nine mine countermeasures vessels and some coastal fortresses. In 1990, a substantially larger structure was present in terms of anti-invasion components, especially fast patrol boats and coastal fortress. The substantial downsizing of the stationary anti-invasion structure continued towards 2005 when a large number of fortified positions will be closed. Also, the number of missile craft and submarines was substantially reduced.

Personnel in active duty as well as in the reserve did not show a similar cut. The reason was twofold. First, a large part of the stationary anti-invasion structure including the personnel has been preserved at a low operational status without training and exercises (moth bag status). Second, the Navy maintained its readiness to fulfil its peacetime tasks during the 1990s - though with some variations in activity level. This resulted in a steady level of active personnel.

The Norwegian fleet is responsible for manning, training and maintenance of the Navy's units and their associated operational support units. Main naval units include the frigates of the Fridtjof Nansen-class, the submarines of the Ula-class, the corvettes of the Skjold-class and finally, the MCMVs of the Oksy-class and the Alta-class. All units are homeported at Haakonsvern naval base in Bergen, Western Norway.

The naval schools are responsible for recruitment and education of naval personnel of all categories. Main units are the Naval Academy, the naval recruit depot at HNoMS Harald Haarfagre and the main naval training centre, HNoMS Tordenskjold.

The Navy has two naval bases which function as operational and logistical hubs. The main base is Haakonsvern Orlogsstasjon, located 15 kilometres (10 miles) outside the centre of Bergen. Haakonsvern is a "full pitstop" facility containing all necessary resources to support the Navy in its day-to-day operations. The other base is located in Ramsund, Northern Norway. This facility has a more limited capability, but still serves as an important logistical facility in the High North an area of great importance to Norway.

The Navy had in 2014 had very good recruitment to the all lines, which confirms both the good reputation and educational schemes that work as intended. The number of alumni in 2014 was at a high level, but still not high enough to meet the armed forces overall the need for recruitment of naval expertise. Also in 2014 has Naval Academy and officer candidate school for the Navy completed several school cruises with the use of contracted sailing ship Statsraad Lehmkuhl, respectively, and KNM KNM Christian Radich. In 2014 the Inspector General decided for the Navy to combine the basic programs undertaken by Officer cadet training school.

There are still challenges within the operation, maintenance and personnel. In particular it is demanding to ask enough personnel with the right education and the necessary experience to the sea service, where positions are often mission-critical. The Navy put down a significant efforts to improve the situation, but it's still a risk that the personnel challenges can affect the Navy's operative deliveries.

Another challenge is a General low inventory of spare parts, which can lead to less sailing activity for periods of time. In the later years also the coast guard had reduced access on the Lynx helicopters, which made the four helicopter bearing the vessels less effective.

The situation will persist until the new NH90 helicopters have been received and fully operational. Coast Guard vessels contribute still to establish a maritime situational picture through to be continuous present in Norwegian areas of interest. When the frigates gets NH90 helicopters on board, and when five Corvettes in the Skjold-class is staffed, the operational the ability to be significantly reinforced.






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