The UK and Norway have advanced their plans for international Maritime Patrol Aircraft co-operation in the North Atlantic, say the Ministry of Defence.

British 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.

According to a Ministry of Defence press release:

“The aircraft took off from RAF Lossiemouth, which will be the future home of the UK’s fleet. 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 £3bn 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.”

Norway’s Secretary Tone Skogen said:

“Norway and the UK are natural partners given our shared values, as well as our history and geography. We can even further strengthen bilateral defence cooperation related to high-end capabilities such as the F-35 fighter and the P-8 maritime patrol aircraft.

In my discussions with Guto Bebb, Minister for Defence Procurement, I find a like-minded ally. The UK and Norway continue to stand together in training and exercises in the North Atlantic and the Northern region, as well as operationalisation of the Joint Expeditionary Force.”

The nine P-8A Poseidons will be based at RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland.

21 COMMENTS

  1. Sounds like an obvious and sensible thing to do. In fact, they could even join forces and operate as a unified command. Fourteen Poseidons begin to make sense. Nine and five on their own are too few.

  2. Norway has a population of under 6 million and can afford 5 P-8’s.
    The UK with over 10 times the population can barely afford 9.
    Something wrong here…

    • Norway also has a sovereign wealth fund in excess of $500 Billion partially because it only has 6 million people.

    • Graham Norway can emphasise a particular aspect of their military because they do not have the hundreds of other capabilities that the UK has militarily, nor do they have 62 million people and a benefits system of 200 billion plus.

      ASW is rightly vital to them due to their coastline and role on NATOs northern flank on the doorstep of the Barents Sea.

    • Norway has a population of under 6 million and can afford 5 P-8’s.
      The UK with over 10 times the population can barely afford 9.

      Norway has a coastline of 25K kilometres, the Uk has one of just over 12K klicks

    • Graham,

      Norway targets its spending in a few areas that are important to it. It along with other smaller countries rely on working with allies like ourselves in order to protect themselves. They know that if they have the ability to alert us to the danger then we (along with the US and France) can react to the danger and eliminate it.

      They basically buy equipment to compliment what their more powerful allies can field. On the flip side we can rely on them to help monitor our northern perimeters it is win win for all.

    • No but they’ve developed one of the best air launched ASuW missile in NSM which fits inside the bay of the F-35A which they’re also buying. Unfortunately it doesn’t fit inside the B version.

      • That’s disappointing… I’d heard of the missile, and that it was getting integrated, but not whether it would fit or not. What with the 35-B being a key maritime aircraft for the USMC, and RN at least, might it not make sense for them to see if they could cram it in somehow…?
        I heard that their modifications have also made it a suitable size to fit in Mk41 VLS (with a launch booster), which would provide a nice bit of common surface punch for T26, T31 and even T45 if they can qualify it for Sylver too.

        • Yes JE. I’m sure if you pay Kongsberg the necessary Krona they’ll repackage NSM to fit inside the Bravo bay. But then you’d have to ask yourself what would be sacrificed? Range or bang, or both. And it would need requalification which is expensive. Probably better to hang LRASM under the wing of the B. Yes, you lose some stealth, but you can launch it from far further away. Also LRASM will get there quicker in getting a vertical launch capability from the Mk-41 VLS, cause the USN is funding it. Shame cause NSM is a nice little bastard, especially in the Littorals.

      • I thought the JSM was the air launched version of the NSM with plans for it to be integrated with F-35A. Sadly internal weapons bay carriage is not possible on F-35B due to shorter weapons bay length but I think the integration will also cover external pylon carriage so might give another option for our F-35Bs.

        Whenever I see news of U.K./Norwegian cooperation I always wonder whether this might get us (the U.K.) closer to doing something with NSM. With Harpoon going out of service and most of the T31e design concepts that I’ve seen showing space for 2 x 4 box launchers NSM/JSM would seem to be an interesting solution, possibly an interim solution until Spear 5 delivers something.

        One thing I am unclear on with JSM is whether, once its development is complete, it will supercede NSM so that a single multi-role missile does it all with a variety of launch options or whether NSM will continue as a separate product line. If the former then JSM looks more and more interesting for box launch T31, F-35B external carriage and possibly P-8A use and MK41 launched for T26 if either of those options are in Kongsberg’s/Norway’s JSM development plans.

        • I just looked at the Wikipedia page for NSM/JSM (JSM discussions about half way down… https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naval_Strike_Missile

          It looks as if even a sub-launched variant is under consideration and those studies have also looked at Mk41 launching that seems possible.

          I am so impressed with MBDA’s output on things like Meteor, CAMM and Spear 3 that I have high hopes that Spear 5 might eventually give us a fantastic final destination but in the meantime all the stuff Norway (in some cases in partnership with Australia) are doing with NSM/JSM integrations and other launch options really does seem to me to make it an interesting potential option for the UK. I can’t imagine P-8A integration isn’t being looked at as well with both Norway and Australia invested/investing-in that platform.

          • NSM/JSM is certainly an option. Kongsberg has joined forces with Lockheed Martin for integration on the F-35. Boeing is also looking at F-18. Not sure to what extent this is US government funded. I suspect they favour LRASM? Although they are looking at box launched NSM to beef up the Littoral Combat Ships.

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