British attack helicopters arrive for winter exercise in Northern Norway

It's the first time such British attack helicopters have been deployed for Arctic training.

By Thomas Nilsen, The Independent Barents Observer - January 9, 2019
A British Army Apache Attack Helicopter is pictured arriving at Bardufoss, Northern Norway. (656 Squadron, 4 Regiment Army Air Corps via The Independent Barents Observer)

The Commando Helicopter Force with the Royal Navy and Army Air Corps are preparing for a cold climate exercise, including shooting exercises with Norwegian army forces in Troms, Northern Norway.

Some 800 British soldiers from the Royal Naval Commando and Royal Marine are involved, says Major Fred Eilers with Bardufoss Air Station to the Barents Observer.

This week, three Apache helicopters were brought to Bardufoss by C17 transport planes. Norway’s TV 2 was first to report about the arriving Apache helicopters. 

Later, British Merlin and Wildcat helicopters will arrive.

Commando Helicopter Force have posted photos of the arrival of the first Apache helicopter on its Facebook-page and says this is the first time such attack helicopters from Great Britain ever have been deployed for Arctic training.

Exercise Clockwork, an annual British winter exercise in Northern Norway, this year marks its 50th anniversary, Major Fred Eilers says.

Starting in mid-January, the British soldiers and aircraft will train with the Norwegian army personnel. Based at Bardufoss Air Station, the helicopters are just a four-minute flight from Sætermoen shooting range. Here, training with live ammunition will take place with both the British attack helicopters as well as Norwegian army units.  

Also this winter, soldiers from Netherlands Marine Corps are on winter training at Åsegarden allied training centre outside Harstad on the coast of Northern Norway.

From next winter, the Dutch soldiers are likely to train from Bardufoss.