NATO Showcases Its Naval Strength As A Message Of Deterrence To Putin

NATO Showcases Its Naval Strength As A Message Of Deterrence To Putin

The British naval vessel, HMS Prince of Wales, has been captured leading a NATO fleet during the military alliance’s largest joint exercise in decades.

Pictured alongside 14 other vessels, the Royal Navy aircraft carrier, constructed at a cost of £3.5 billion, led the formation through exercises in the North Sea as part of the Nordic Response 24 drill.

This drill aims to enhance the alliance’s capacity to reinforce Europe’s northern frontiers. Notably, the 65,000-ton ship was accompanied by the American destroyer USS Paul Ignatius and Spain’s ESPS Almirante Juan de Borbon frigate, while Swedish and Finnish fighter jets flew overhead.

Operating in the icy fjords of Norway until Friday, the carrier strike group will engage in defensive maneuvers and amphibious landings aimed at reclaiming allied territory.

Exercise Nordic Response 24 forms part of the broader Exercise Steadfast Defender 24, representing the largest NATO exercise since the Cold War. This exercise sees over 90,000 troops from all 32 countries training together as tensions rise in Europe amid Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

Joining the HMS Prince of Wales were vessels such as RFA Mounts Bay, Norway’s frigate HNoMS Otto Sverdrup and HNoMS Gnist, as well as Germany’s replenishment ship FGS Bonn.

The flypast included six Finnish F18 and two Swedish JAS-39 aircraft. Both land and air exercises are scheduled along Norway’s Arctic coast until Friday, involving over 20,000 troops, more than 50 frigates, submarines, and other vessels, as well as approximately 110 fighter jets, helicopters, and aircraft.

Concerns among NATO members have escalated with Russia’s ongoing conflict in Ukraine and statements by former President Trump indicating reluctance to defend NATO allies against Russia.

The HMS Prince of Wales, initially slated to lead the group in February, faced a brief delay due to a problem with its propeller shaft, stepping in for HMS Queen Elizabeth.

There are concerns within senior naval ranks that HMS Prince of Wales, despite its considerable cost, may face potential decommissioning or sale at a reduced price to another nation, amid challenges in justifying additional defense funding for Britain.

Despite previous breakdowns and repairs, the Ministry of Defence has not confirmed whether HMS Prince of Wales will assume all scheduled duties of its sister ship, HMS Queen Elizabeth, during its repair period.

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