“Impact area for Russian missiles,” reads a short notice to airmen (NOTAM) for the danger area activated north of mainland Norway. The warning is set for the period February 18 to 24.
The timing is likely not a coincidence. Within the next week, four US Air Force B-1 strategic bombers are anticipated to arrive at Ørland Air Base in southern Norway in a first-ever deployment to the country. According to the Dutch aviation news Scramble the date of arrival is said to be somewhere late in week 7 or early in week 8. A support team of 200 American soldiers has already arrived at the Air Base, preparing to serve the B-1 bombers.
“Given the timing and location of the Russian missile test, and the anticipated arrival of the US B1 bombers, the missile exercise may well be intended to serve a signaling purpose,” said Senior Research Fellow at the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI), Kristian Åtland to the Barents Observer. […]
The waters here are also of strategic importance in the bigger power game between NATO and Russia, just like during the days of the Cold War. It is here, from the North Cape, via the Bear Island and north to Svalbard that the shallow Barents Sea meets the deeper Norwegian Sea.
Kristian Åtland explains: “This is an area which has traditionally played an important role in Russian defense planning and the Northern Fleet’s “bastion defense” strategy. Simply out, the Russian Navy has a “sea control” ambition in the maritime areas east of this imaginary line, and a “sea denial” ambition in the maritime areas further west and south, which are deeper than the Barents Sea.” Läs artikel