KNM Thor Heyerdahl to Visit Svalbard

Norway deploys its best warship to demonstrate presence and maintain sovereignty in territorial waters of Svalbard (Spitsbergen) and Medvezhiy Island, reported Barents Observer.

On Nov 14, Norwegian frigate KNM Thor Heyerdahl left port of Bodo and set a course for the Arctic archipelago Svalbard (Spitsbergen).

During the mission, the frigate will hold a number of exercises jointly with other naval units and maritime rescue service.

Norwegian parliament decided to deploy one large naval ship to Svalbard every year to protect Norwegian sovereignty in that region. Buildup of military presence in the Arctic is an element of Norway’s state strategy and priority task of Norwegian armed forces.

Frigate KNM Thor Heyerdahl was commissioned in 2011. She is the last in series of frigates built by Spanish shipyard Navantia for Norwegian Navy in 2006-2010. That EUR 2.9-bln project is the largest contract ever signed by Norwegian armed forces.

New frigates are supposed to play a key role in maintaining of Norwegian sovereignty in Arctic. In practice, they sail in polar waters very seldom. The frigates stay idle at Hokonsvern base most of the time due to crewing problems.

Displacement of KNM Thor Heyerdahl is 5,300 tons; length is 134 meters; beam is 16.8 meters; draft is 7.6 meters; speed is 26 knots; fuel range is 4,500 nautical miles at 16 knots; crew is about 120 persons.

Naval Today Staff, November 20, 2012