King Harald of Norway has paid a visit to Nye Evenes Air Base, where, among other things, he got to see first-hand the country’s newest defensive and surveillance weapons.
On Sunday, 18th November, His Majesty arrived at the air station in the north of the country, and he was immediately taken to see the newest crown jewel of Norway’s defence: a fleet of P-8 Poseidon.
The King listened as the military staff on base told him about the abilities of the aircraft, which is designed by Boeing and is used for maritime patrol. At least two aircraft are always ready to fly within five minutes if any unknown aircraft is detected in their area of competence, which includes a radius between Evenes and Bodø.
King Harald also took part in a surveillance flight in an F-35 fighter jet; their use has been incremented since the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, as Norway is one of the countries that is closest to the Arctic, where Russia has had expansion objectives in their sight for a few years now.
Furthermore, the sovereign was also shown the work of the QRA (Quick Reaction Alert), which was moved to Nye Evenes in 2022, taking over for the base in Bodø. The QRA is an essential task of any defence force, as it is in charge of protecting any given country’s airspace.
For this reason, the King was also told about plans to expand personnel on base, until 2025, when it is expected that Nye Evenes will be one to roughly 500 employees and 300 soldiers.
This visit seems to be part of an increased effort on the Norwegian Crown’s part to emphasise defence – a trend that started in February 2022, when, much to the surprise of most, Russian tanks crossed the border with Ukraine. Since then, most Nordic and Baltic countries have been on edge, and Norway especially so, given that, until May 2023, they were the only country in Scandinavia that was a member of NATO.