The Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group (GRFCSG) trained with the Royal Norwegian Navy and Air Force and the Royal Navy in a series of security exercises in the High North, 2-6 June.

A collaborative effort to enhance combined interoperability, this combined training enhances Allies’ abilities to maintain agile, capable, and expeditionary forces with the ability to flexibly operate within the region.

Since GRFCSG’s transfer of authority to Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO (STRIKFORNATO) on June 2, U.S. and Norwegian forces conducted multi-domain exercise Bomber Task Force (BTF) Viking Trident, as well as air defense, maritime localization and tracking, simulated maritime strike, and passing exercises.

“Conducting integrated and high-intensity activities with our Allies and partners in various maritime environments is what keeps our carrier strike group well prepared, ready, and postured to collectively deter threats and defend the Alliance,” said Rear Adm. Erik Eslich, Commander, GRFCSG, Carrier Strike Group 12. “Training with our Ally Norway enhances our interoperability and capabilities, providing more agile options to respond where and when needed, which is key in a dynamic security environment.”

The U.S. Navy and Royal Norwegian Navy routinely work together throughout North America and Europe, and Norwegian ships have recently integrated with U.S. Carrier Strike Groups. In late 2021-2022, the HNoMS Fridtjof Nansen (F310) conducted a cooperative deployment with the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group to the U.S. Naval Forces Europe (NAVEUR) area of operations in support of maritime security and stability in international waters. Fritdjof Nansen was a critical enabler in Truman’s operations, demonstrating Allies’ interoperability and interchangeability.

“Operations with allies, and with the US in particular, is a very important part of our defence concept,” said Commodore Trond Gimmingsrud, Commander Norwegian Fleet.

“Therefore, all branches of our armed forces will take advantage of exercising with the carrier strike group. Our frigate HNoMS Fridtjof Nansen operated with Carrier Strike Group 8 in 2021 and 2022. We now have the opportunity to achieve the same deep integration into a strike group with some of our other units and crews. In that way, we will ensure that we can integrate rapidly and seamlessly in the future.”

Following USS Gerald R. Ford’s (CVN 78) port visit to Oslo, Norway, six Norwegian liaison officers embarked on the ship in support of the combined interoperability exercises.

“We’re dependent on getting Allies here for training to maintain our agility and mission readiness,” said Cmdr. Jon Stomperudhaugen, Norwegian liaison officer. “It’s also important for us to get up here, above the Arctic Circle. We seek to take advantage of every training opportunity we can get as our integrated operations make us stronger.”

The U.S. and Norwegian Navies were joined in the Norwegian Sea by other Allied units, including United Kingdom Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary units, bolstering an extended network of alliances and partnerships capable of decisively meeting the challenges of today and tomorrow.

“The combined force of the U.S. Carrier Strike Group, the U.K. and Norwegian Navy is capable of responding decisively to any threat or crisis, defending against all forms of aggression,” said Commander Lars Ole Høknes, commanding officer of His Norwegian Majesty’s Ship (HNoMS) Otto Sverdrup, one of the participating units. “Key to this are allied cohesion and integration, units that are adaptable, interoperable and interchangeable, as demonstrated through this week’s exercises focusing on air-maritime integration. The footprint in the Norwegian Sea demonstrates our shared commitment to the Alliance.”

The GRFCSG is conducting a scheduled deployment in the Atlantic Ocean in support of interoperability and maritime security. The GRFCSG provides an inherently flexible naval force capable of deploying across combatant commands to meet emerging missions, deter potential adversaries, reassure allies and partners, enhance security and guarantee the free flow of global commerce. In total, the GRFCSG is deployed with more than 6,000 Sailors across all platforms ready to respond globally to combatant commander tasking.

Gerald R. Ford is the U.S. Navy’s newest and most advanced aircraft carrier. As the first-in-class ship of Ford-class aircraft carriers, CVN 78 represents a generational leap in the U.S. Navy’s capacity to project power on a global scale. Ford-class aircraft carriers introduce 23 new technologies, including Electromagnetic Aircraft Launching System, Advanced Arresting Gear and Advanced Weapons Elevators. The new systems incorporated onto Ford-class ships are designed to deliver greater lethality, survivability and joint interoperability with a 20% smaller crew than a Nimitz-class carrier, paving the way forward for naval aviation.