While Norway has long been highly reluctant to allow foreign military forces to deploy from its territory, the recent resurgence in tensions between the Western Bloc and Russia combined with the fast growing strategic importance of the Arctic, which has led to stronger requests for such a deployment from the country’s allies, have led to the United States Marine Corps deploying a contingent of its forces to the European state. In mid August 2018 the Norwegian defense ministry reported that 700 Marines would be deployed to the country – with deployments expected to last at least five years. A new military base at Setermoen will accommodate the growing number of personnel, and though the scale of the deployments may well seem small – they very likely will represent an advanced guard for a far larger force set to deploy to the strategically critical location.
Alongside initial contingents of Marines, the United States has expressed interest in building infrastructure to four fighter squadrons at a base 65 kilometers south of Oslo. While Norway itself has acquired multirole single engine light jets, the fifth generation F-35A, the deployment of more capable twin engine heavy jets specialised for air superiority such as the F-22 or F-15C, or long range strike jets such as the F-15E, remain a considerable possibility. Indeed, U.S. F-22 Raptors designed specifically as a more capable and elite complement to the F-35A, in August carried out exercises in Norway with the Norwegian F-35 fleet which improved interoperability of the two forces. The deployment has also been scheduled just weeks before the beginning of NATO’s Trident Juncture 18 manoeuvres, involving 40,000 soldiers, 130 aircraft, and 70 ships from more
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