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U.S. Marines, Norwegian military hold Arctic training exercise

U.S. Marines fire a TOW missile system as part of Exercise Arctic Littoral Strike in Blåtind, Norway on March 29. Photo by Patrick King/U.S. Marine Corps
U.S. Marines fire a TOW missile system as part of Exercise Arctic Littoral Strike in Blåtind, Norway on March 29. Photo by Patrick King/U.S. Marine Corps

April 8 (UPI) -- U.S. Marines and sailors with Marine Rotational Force-Europe 21.1 participated in Arctic Littoral Strike in Northern Norway with the Norwegian military in March, the U.S. Marine Corps announced.

The exercise, conducted between March 11 and 31, focused on joint naval integration with Norwegian submarines and reinforced live-fire attacks.

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According to a Marine Corps press release describing the exercise, MRF-E's Light-Armored Reconnaissance Company received a training mission that required the unit to observe routes that could be used by an adversary in the Arctic fjords, allowing a Norwegian submarine to move without being impeded.

For the live-fire exercise, the Marine contingent integrated Javelin anti-tank missiles, tube-launched optically-tracked wire-guided missiles, artillery, explosive ordnance and heavy machine guns with maneuver elements.

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Before the exercise began, the Marines spent weeks participating in cold-weather training led by Norwegian instructors -- honing their ability to live, thrive, and fight in the Arctic.

"This exercise demonstrated the battalion's capability to operate inside actively contested maritime spaces, in this case arctic littoral spaces, and to provide support to joint fleet operations," said Lt. Col. Ryan Gordinier, the MRF-E battalion commander, in the release.

"The Marine Corps has demonstrated an interest in developing expeditionary advance basing capabilities in the Pacific, and we took advantage of the opportunity to exercise those concepts in the Arctic," Gordinier said.

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Also in March, a U.S. B-2 bomber and F-35 fighter planes from Norway's air force executed a night exercise near the Arctic Circle.

In 2020, Marines from the 3rd Battalion of the 6th Marine Regiment conducted Exercise Reindeer II, a six-week Arctic training exercise that wrapped in early December in Norway.

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