Norwegian frigate in Carrier Strike Group 8
From autumn 2021 to spring 2022, the Norwegian frigate HNoMS Fridtjof Nansen was deployed and fully integrated with the US Carrier Strike Group 8.
The Carrier Strike Group 8 is one of five U.S. Navy carrier strike groups. Their main mission is to gain and maintain sea control and project naval airpower ashore. The strike group’s main area of operation is the Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea and the Indian Ocean.
What did Norway do?
Norway contributed with the frigate HNoMS Fridtjof Nansen as an escort vessel in the Carrier Strike Group 8 from September 2021 to spring 2022. The frigate left Haakonsvern Naval Base in Bergen, Norway in late August to start her training with the rest of the aircraft carrier group. On 1 December 2021, HNoMS Fridtjof Nansen and the rest of Carrier Strike Group 8 officially deployed.
The United States regularly invites allies to participate in its carrier strike groups. This is done to safeguard common interests, strengthen defence cooperation and enhance naval interoperability.
Norway has not participated in a similar mission before, but Norwegian frigates have previously exercised with American aircraft carrier groups several times on the east coast of the United States, and along the Norwegian coast.
Carrier Strike Group 8 consists of the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman, including an air wing, a logistics vessel and 5–6 escort vessels.
HNoMS Fridtjof Nansen serves as one of the escort vessels in the carrier strike group. Her tasks are to contribute to situational awareness in the area of operation, and to be prepared to protect the aircraft carrier from air, surface and underwater threats. This can be done close to the aircraft carrier, or on independent patrols in a larger area of operation.
Though a part of the American strike group, the Norwegian frigate remains under Norwegian political control. This means that Norway can withdraw the vessel from the group, or from a specific mission or task, if the Norwegian government decides so.
The carrier strike group is commanded by a US headquarters – such as the US 6th Fleet, if the group operates in European waters.