British forces are to step up Arctic deployments to protect NATO's northern flank from Russia, UK Defense SecretaryGavin Williamson has announced.
The top defense official says the Royal Marines have launched a ten-year programme that will see over a thousand troops train each year with their Norwegian counterparts, building up to a Brigade-strength deployment in the near future, The Telegraph reported.
In addition, he announced that Britain's new fleet of submarine-hunting aircraft will fly over the Arctic next year in their first deployment. He said the new P8 Poseidon Maritime Patrol Aircraft will fly in the Arctic to counter Russian submarine activity that is back to Cold War levels.
The defense secretary said: "Whether it' sharpening our skills in sub-zero conditions, learning from longstanding allies like Norway or monitoring submarine threats with our Poseidon aircraft, we will stay vigilant to new challenges."
Nine of the new P8 Poseidon aircraft will be delivered to RAF Lossiemouth in 2020 to fly reconnaissance patrols over a wide area, including the High North and North Atlantic. One of their roles will also be to protect Britain's nuclear deterrent submarines.