Frequent Submarine Calls in Tromsø – New US Nuclear Submarine on Logistical Stop

On Monday, an American submarine docked in the Port of Grøtsund, just outside Tromsø, Northern Norway. This is the eighth allied submarine visit at the port this year – and takes place shortly after the call of USS Florida, as well as the French submarine FNS Améthyste.

By Astri Edvardsen, High North News - October 4, 2023
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Article by High North News

The American submarine USS Florida (SSGN 728), armed with conventional cruise missiles, docked in the Port of Grøtsund on September 14th. On Monday, October 2nd, the port received another visit from a nuclear submarine from the US. (Photo: The US Navy)

On Monday morning, an American nuclear submarine docked at the Port of Grøtsund, just north of the city of Tromsø in Northern Norway, according to the Norwegian Joint Headquarters.

This is the seventh American and eighth (known) allied submarine call at Grøtsund this year.

The call occurred shortly after a visit from the American submarine USS Florida (which arrived on September 14th) and the French nuclear submarine FNS Améthyste (arrival date September 21st).

Apparently, the American submarine is there for a longer visit as there is currently a ban on all civilian flights in the Grøtsund area until Sunday, October 15th.

There is also an American presence in the Port of Breivik in Tromsø: The US Coast Guard cutter Healy is docked there after arriving on Sunday.

Support for Norway in tense times

Last week, a military attachè at France’s embassy in Oslo spoke about the aforementioned submarine’s visit to Tromsø – together with the French military support vessel FS Garonne. This was the first known French submarine call at Grøtsund.

This week, a supplementary response to High North News’ questions came from the French Armed Forces, État-major des armées.

“Garonne patrolled the Norwegian Sea on its way to Tromsø, where it had a stopover from September 21st to the 25th. She joined the nuclear-powered attack submarine  Améthyste, also on operational standby at high altitudes near the Arctic Circle,” writes Ètat-major des armèes and continues:

“This maneuver provided the opportunity to test Garonne’s operational robustness by making a logistical stopover – and to confirm France’s support for Norway in view of the growing geopolitical stakes in the Far North. The regular deployments of Armed Forces vessels in this zone are of strategic importance, given the geopolitical and environmental issues involved. They guarantee France and its allies a capacity for intervention and independent assessment of the situation.”

The French nuclear-powered attack submarine FNS Améthyste in connection with the call at the Port of Grøtsund from the 21st to the 27th of September.

Call overview

Since Grøtsund became the receiving port for allied reactor-powered vessels in 2020, American nuclear submarines have visited the port 14 times – seven of which were this year:

  • USS New Mexico (SSN 779), Virginia class – May 2021
  • USS Washington (SSN 787), Virginia class – January 2022
  • USS Albany (SSN 753), Los Angeles class – April 2022
  • USS North Dakota (SSN 784), Virginia class – Mai 2022
  • Unknown American submarine – July 2022
  • USS Newport News (SSN 750), Los Angeles class – Fall 2022
  • USS New Hampshire (SSN 778), Virginia class – Fall 2022
  • USS South Dakota (SSN 790), Virginia class – December 2022
  • Unknown American submarine – April 2023
  • Unknown American submarine – June 2023
  • Unknown American submarine – July 2023
  • Unknown American submarine – August 2023
  • USS Florida (SSGN 728), Ohio class – September 2023
  • Unknown American submarine – October 2023

Other known allied submarine calls at Grøtsund: The aforementioned French FNS Améthyste and the British nuclear submarine HMS Ambush in April 2022.