Staggering 20,000 Soldiers Test Defense Strategies against Russia in NATO Exercise

The exercise dubbed Nordic Response has kicked off in the northern European country of Norway. The massive exercise, involving a staggering 20,000 soldiers, 100 aircrafts, and 50 vessels, aims at testing new strategies to enhance against Russia.

French Navy’s Deployment

The French Navy has made a significant contribution to the exercise. The deployment includes Atlantique 2 maritime patrol , FREMM Normandie frigate, Améthyste nuclear attack submarine, and Andromède minehunter. In addition, a group of marines from the Destroyat battalion has been stationed aboard the American amphibious assault ship, the USS Guston Hall.

Objectives of Nordic Response

One of the pivotal aspects of Nordic Response is anti-submarine . This comes as no surprise considering the high activity of Russian submarines in the area, primarily due to Norway's proximity to the GIUK passage.

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The German “Attacker”

In the exercise, a German type 212 submarine has been cast in the role of the “attacker”. Although the submarine managed to “torpedo” the Italian , ITS Giuseppe Garibaldi, it did not succeed in surprising the FREMM Normandie.

Unforewarned, Yet Alert

The crew of the French frigate was not forewarned about the German submarine's attack. However, despite the submarine's stealth, the vigilant crew spotted it.

Tracking the Submarine

Post spotting the submarine, the NH-90 Caïman helicopter was launched to precisely locate the German submarine using its FLASH SONICS system. The FREMM also employed its detection capabilities, including a hull sonar and the CAPTAS 4 system.

Joint Effort Results in “Attack”

The combined capabilities of the frigate and helicopter enabled a precise location of the German submarine, which was subsequently “attacked” with MU-90 torpedoes.

Complexity of Anti-Submarine Warfare

Anti-submarine warfare is generally deemed as the most complex aspect of naval combat. It necessitates a profound understanding of the marine environment since factors such as temperature, salinity, and ocean floor topography can greatly affect detection capabilities. For instance, fjords, which are abundant in Norway, present a unique environment with a different temperature profile than the Atlantic Ocean.

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The Edge of the German Submariners

It has been reported that the German submariners seem to have an advantage over the French sailors, due to their better understanding of Norway's “deep and narrow fjords”.

Photo: FREMM Normandie – French Navy

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