LONDON, The United Kingdom – AH-64 Apache attack helicopters from the British Army were dispatched for the first time to the Arctic Circle, reports The Sun.
The newspaper referred to exercises in Norway this week involving British Apache helicopters. According to the operations officer of the Joint Helicopter Command, Brigadier Mike Keating, the Apache helicopter “sends a psychological message to any potential enemy, to any foe that’s out there.”
“That’s exactly why we brought it here, to learn those lessons and prove to ourselves and any adversaries out there that no matter where trouble might face us, we are prepared to go and face it,” he continued.
“Whether it’s in the deserts of Afghanistan or in the freezer of the Arctic Circle,” he added.
The publication notes that the main goal is to strengthen NATO’s northern flank amid Russia’s drive to “control the Arctic region.”
At the end of September 2018, British Defense Minister Gavin Williamson unveiled the new Arctic defense strategy, citing increasing threats in the region and Russia’s alleged attempts to militarize it. In addition, he also stressed the importance of the region and stated that the Army should be ready to deal with all threats as they arise.
Earlier, the UK Ministry of Defense noted that the strategy specifically stipulated that British Marines would continue to receive joint training with their Norwegian counterparts in the long run.
The move comes as the Arctic is set to become a key new battleground as melting icebergs open new shipping routes and access to oil reserves beneath the ice.
As a result both NATO allies and Russia have ramped up training and bought extra kit for the expected fight for control of the region. However, the British attempts of intimidation against Moscow has not slowed down Russia’s resolve to develop and secure the Arctic passage.