UK, Norway Practice Cold Weather Survival in the Arctic

The UK Royal Air Force and Norwegian counterparts have trained their cold weather survival skills in an environment reaching -20 degrees Celsius (-4F) above the Arctic Circle.

The drill involved gunners, engineers, tactical communicators, medics, drivers, and chefs from the RAF Regiment functioning as a specialist corps within the air force.

Royal Norwegian Air Force experts delivered the lessons to the British soldiers at the  Bardufoss Air Station in Målselv.

Simultaneously, UK Typhoon combat aircraft were deployed to Ørland Air Station to upskill with Norway’s F-35A Lightning II fighter jets.

The airborne drill included Close Air Support simulations to practice cover for ground units and improve interoperability between operators of both fleets.

Personnel from across the Royal Air Force have deployed to Norway on Exercise Arctic Phoenix. The deployment, based out of airfields in Orland and Bardufoss, will see Global Enablement elements and IX(B) Squadron test their Agile Combat Employment capabilities in challenging Arctic conditions to prepare for future exercises in the region while training alongside their Norwegian military counterparts in the air and on land to further strengthen interoperability as part of the Joint Expeditionary Force.
Personnel from across the Royal Air Force have deployed to Norway for a cold weather training. Photo: UK Royal Air Force

“We are very grateful for the exceptional support received from our Norwegian partners in facilitating 4th and 5th generation fighter integration training… as well as integrating the Cold Weather Survival Course,” Royal Air Force Wing Detachment Commander Richard Leask stated.

“Understanding the challenges that come with operating in the High North is crucial to being able to successfully support our personnel and assets within this environment.”

“Working alongside our Norwegian counterparts will allow us to strengthen our interoperability as committed members of the Joint Expeditionary Force.”

Upcoming Training

The cold weather preparation is part of this year’s iteration of Arctic Phoenix, a multinational exercise to sharpen national defense, resource allocation, efficiency, and operational performance.

This event is commonly facilitated with partner nations in the High North and tackles lessons that will aid them in securing the region.

A second phase of Arctic Phoenix will be conducted in the coming weeks, where warfighters from the Royal Air Force’s 30 Squadron will be tested on aeromedical evacuation procedures, air refueling, force protection capabilities, and sorties with Typhoon jets with the help of an A400M Atlas military transport aircraft.

It will also see the air force’s 9 Squadron (Bomber) and the Global Enablement unit demonstrate their Agile Combat Employment skills to survive enemy attacks, disperse to various points, and proceed with operations in extreme conditions.

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