Norwegian frigate joins US aircraft carrier group

Royal Norwegian Navy frigate HNoMS Fridtjof Nansen has joined the U.S. Navy’s USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (Ike) aircraft carrier strike group during their final preparations for deployment.

Nansen is participating in a composite training unit exercise with Ike’s strike group to foster integration with the U.S. Navy.

Although language barriers and different exercise procedures can make communication and coordination difficult, Cmdr. Odd-Erling Furu, Nansen’s commanding officer, said these exercises help ensure that both navies are familiar with the operations and procedures of both countries.

Before any continued cooperation between the two countries’ navies, including possibly working together on future deployments, Furu said his crew will have to adapt to working with the U.S. Navy and how they conduct certain exercises while at sea.

“It’s a challenge, but we’re working on it, and it’s getting better and better each day,” Furu said.

Nansen is also coordinating with aircraft they are not accustomed to working with to help them look for submarines during the exercise.

“The U.S. Navy has very good exercises with submarines because they have all of these air resources,” Furu said. “We were lucky the ship got to participate in the anti-submarine warfare part of it while having all the helicopter support.

The U.S. has also been very friendly and open for us in trying to get this working. It hasn’t always been easy because of some U.S. restrictions, but we have tried to work around them and have found workable solutions, and that’s good.”

Norway depends on its allies to conduct replenishment-at-sea procedures for their ships while underway. With a crew of only 120 people, it is necessary for Nansen to have sufficient supplies and fuel on the ship during extended at-sea periods.

“I think we are pretty integrated with conducting a regular RAS (replenishment at sea), which is an asset we don’t have in the Norwegian navy,” Lt. Amund Johansen said.

Nansen also participated in the Rim of the Pacific exercise in 2014, and Furu said his crew is looking forward to working with the U.S. Navy again in the future. He said the communication between Nansen and U.S. ships is getting better and that he believes the two navies can learn a lot from each other.