The ongoing overhaul of Norway’s defense capabilities still has many question marks hanging over it. For instance, the Norwegian Armed Forces may relinquish its use of heavy tanks and instead rely on missiles to be fired at enemy lines from afar. In any case, Russia is still considered the most likely adversary.
Norwegian national broadcaster NRK has taken a look at the three options in more detail. In one of the concepts called “Sink and stop,” the Russian advancement in Norwegian Lapland will be stopped in a decisive battle in Troms County. It is the only one that is based on heavy equipment, such as tanks.
In the concepts dubbed “Refusal” and “Active conflict,” which are less reliant on logistics and heavy materiel, a Russian assault on Norway will be stopped using long-range missiles, fired from fighter jets, ships or ground, in combination with mobile forces, all of which are significantly lighter than today’s mechanized brigade.
Previously, the committee rejected the concepts “Silence” and “Stop at the border.” The former implied guerilla warfare and was ruled out as “unacceptable,” whereas the latter was considered “completely unrealistic.”
According to Brandvik, scenarios which demand heavy investment in long-range weapons systems and the restructuring of existing departments are the most costly. This may prove crucial given Norway’s financial difficulties in meeting the common NATO goal of defense expenditure exceeding 2 percent of the GDP.
The goal of boosting NATO member states’ defense outlay, which was recently stressed anew by the Trump administration, may leave a serious dent in Norway’s state coffers, as the nation’s military expenses keep growing in lockstep with its GDP. In 2024, Norway’s military outlay is projected to be 48 percent higher than the 49 billion NOK ($5.9bln) spent today, provided that Norway chooses to comply with the NATO guidelines, the Norwegian economic daily Dagens Næringsliv reported.