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Crown Prince Haakon participates in major military exercise

His Royal Highness, Crown Prince Haakon of Norway, has, the last two days, participated in the international military exercise “Joint Viking” which takes place in northern Norway. The exercise aims to strengthen the military cooperation within NATO and between the Nordic nations.

The military exercise “Joint Viking” takes place from 6 to 15 March in an area stretching from Alta to Lakselv in the far north of Norway. The exercise takes place mostly along the Norwegian coast which is difficult to transport troops on. Here, it is an especially tough climate during the winter, and there are extremely long distances to transport soldiers and military equipment. This provides excellent opportunities to train military forces to tackle demanding tasks in demanding environments. This training is held every two years; the last time, in 2015, it was also held in northern Norway.

Crown Prince Haakon get an introduction to how the Norwegian Navy`s frigates are used in combat. Photo: Christina Gjertsen / Forsvaret. 

His Royal Highness got to meet many of the Norwegian soldiers participating in the exercise. He was also shown the battlefield by Norway’s defence chief, Admiral Haakon Bruun-Hanssen.

In all, 8,000 soldiers participated in the exercise. Approximately 700 of these troops are from the UK and USA. Since the training started, it has been marked by several accidents. Friday afternoon, a Norwegian tank went through the ice during the exercise. Thankfully, no one was injured in the incident.

The Crown Prince speaks with soldiers from the National Guard in Finnmark, Norway’s northern most county and the only Norwegian county with a land border towards Russia. Photo: Christina Gjertsen / Forsvaret. 

Crown Prince Haakon and military chief Bruun-Hanssen arrived the area by helicopter. The Crown Prince did talk with soldiers from the company “Ida og Lyra.” This is a rapid reaction group of volunteer soldiers from the Finnmark National Guard. This is an important part of the defence of northern Norway. The Crown Prince himself is a General in the Army and the Air Force and admiral in the Royal Norwegian Navy.

You can read more about exercise here.

About author

Senior Europe Correspondent Oskar Aanmoen has a master in military and political history of the Nordic countries. He has written five books on historical subjects and more than 700 articles for Royal Central. He has also interview both Serbian and Norwegian royals. Aanmoen is based in Oslo, Norway.