Norway is hosting the world’s largest aircraft carrier the United States Ship (USS) Gerald R. Ford, a move which the Russian Embassy in Oslo has called “illogical and harmful”.
The nuclear-powered USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) departed the US on May 9, 2023, ahead of expected military exercises in the Arctic. It is the first combat deployment for this new-generation aircraft and the first US warship to anchor in Oslo Fjord in 65 years.
The Norwegian military implemented a sea ban of half a kilometer around the warship and a no-fly zone was created over the area during the historical visit.
Under the escort of armed forces, USS Gerald R. Ford sailed into the Oslo Fjord on May 24, where it was welcomed as a sign of solidarity among NATO allies at a time of war in Europe.
“This is Norway’s security,” Norway’s Defense Minister Bjorn Arild Gram said in a statement. “It is a clear expression of the security guarantees we have through NATO, not least the close cooperation and partnership we have with the United States.”
The nuclear-powered US warship can transport more than 75 aircraft simultaneously, including fighter jets, bombers, transport planes, and helicopters. Additionally, the ship can launch and land aircraft, and recover them with four aircraft elevators and an advanced arresting gear system.
Russia criticized the arrival of the 337-meter-long aircraft carrier, stating that it was an unnecessary demonstration of power.
“There is not a single issue in the north that requires a military solution, not a single topic that requires external intervention,” the Russian Embassy in Oslo stated.
However, in collaboration with other Northern NATO allies, Norway had already increased its military patrols in 2022 following mysterious explosions on the Nord Stream pipelines in the Baltic Sea, which have been at the center of numerous controversies since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
During the stopover, US soldiers will likely take part in drills alongside the Norwegian Navy, Army, Air Force, and special forces.
Later, the massive USS Gerald R. Ford is expected to take part in the Arctic Challenge Exercise, which will take place on May 29, 2023, and gather more than 150 aircraft from 14 countries.