Forces: July 15, 2000


NORWAY PLANS MAJOR DEFENSE FORCE CUTS: General Sigurd Frisvold, chief of the Norwegian defense staff, has published a new plan (Defense Analysis 2000) which provides for sweeping cuts to maintain zero growth in the defense budget. Some details of the plan include:

@ The Air Force will be cut from 58 F-16s with Mid Life Upgrades to only 48. These will be replaced by new aircraft (probably Eurofighter Typhoons but possibly US Joint Strike Fighters) in 2012.

@ The Navy will discard all of its Fast Attack Craft and the four Kobben-class submarines, keeping only the five new Nansen-class frigates, six Ula-class submarines, four minehunters, and four minesweepers. The Ulas will retire about 2010 and might be replaced by new the Nordic Viking submarine class or done without.

@ The Army will take the hardest hit. The current six brigades will be reduced to only three, with one of them a reserve unit. Northern Norway will have a division headquarters, one brigade, a ranger battalion, and a border guards company. A reserve signal battalion and recon battalion would join this unit in time of war; the headquarters might gain control over two more brigades (from allies or southern Norway). Southern Norway will have what amounts to a brigade (two mechanized battalions, a reserve mechanized battalion, an armored company, a recon company, an artillery battery, a logistics battalion, and an engineer company) without a formal headquarters. These troops will be on standby for peacekeeping missions. The third brigade, a mechanized unit, will be called up upon wartime mobilization.--Stephen V Cole


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