Officials say approximately 1,500 soldiers from the British Three Commando Brigade Royal Marines are training in the hostile climate of the northern Norwegian coast ahead of a deployment to Afghanistan. Also training with the marines are members of the Royal Navy and about 3,000 NATO personnel in 25 ships and submarines, the British Ministry of Defense reported.
British officials say the challenging terrain for the so-called Armatura Borealis exercises will prepare troops for counterinsurgency operations during the rugged Afghan winter.
"Norway's coast provides challenging terrain coupled with a testing climate," Maj. Chris Lincoln-Jones, Three Commando Brigade spokesman, said in a statement. "Overcoming operational and tactical problems here is demanding and therefore very relevant. The major advantage of exercising out here is that we can prove our capability in two areas at once."
The NATO troops participating are from Spain, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. Officials say working alongside NATO countries is an opportunity to work out interoperability concerns.
"The opportunity to train alongside so many of our NATO partners in one exercise presents a number of challenges; all universally constructive in enhancing interoperability," Col. David King said. "We've gone a long way in a very short space of time."