Guards on alert at Norway's future Arctic drone base

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“Andøya plays an important role in national security, allied defence and technological development,” Norwegian Defence Minister Bjørn Arild Gram underlines in a statement following the allocation of 37,5 million kroner (€3,2 million) for protection of the far northern air base.

The Andøya Air Base is located about 300 km north of the Arctic Circle.

The allocation is made in the government’s revised national budget.

“The growing military-strategic significance of the base for Norway and NATO requires that we continue manned guarding,” the minister explains.

The former Norwegian government of Erna Solberg intended to close the Andøya base, but the full-scale invasion of Ukraine by Russia and increasingly tense relations in the North has fundamentally changed military planning in the region.

The far northern island located on the coast of the Norwegian Sea is now a top priority area for the Norwegian Armed Forces.

A fleet of long-range drones is to be acquired and Andøya will serve as drone base.

The new base will be located in premises that previously housed Norway’s fleet of P-3 Orion surveillance aircrafts.

The new long-range drones are to provide surveillance also in connection with natural catastrophes and rescue operations. They are to be operated as part of a multinational allied cooperation that includes also training, management and development.

“The government has big ambitions for Andøya,” Minister Gram underlined as he announced the new drone base in April this year.

The island will also house an Arctic satellite station against enemy cruise missiles.

It will be built in cooperation with the Americans, and be the first of its kind outside the USA.