Cover photo: Frederik Ringnes / Norwegian Armed Forces (Forsvaret)
Exercise Thunderbolt, a joint multinational exercise that included Norwegian Army Brigade North, US Army 41st Field Artillery Brigade and U.S. Marines from 2nd Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company. For the 41st Field Artillery Brigade this was the fifth and final live fire in the Fires Shock series - exercises conducted from the Arctic to North Africa. The fire exercise included the Norwegian K9 weapon and US Army’s Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS).
The K9 guns were delivered to the Norwegian Army in 2020, and included the Integrated Combat Solution (ICS) and Odin Fire Support System (Odin FSS) from KONGSBERG. Odin FSS is a ASCA compliant system which significantly improves the operational capabilities of any artillery weapon system. ASCA provides a fully digital sensor to shooter connection between allied nations, speeding up the process of firemissions, securely delivers target data and thus prevents fratricide. ICS and Odin FSS together provides the digital backbone in the K9 ensuring fast and secure execution of firemissions.
“The exercise was a great success and it showed the operational and well-tested ASCA implementation in Odin FSS,” said Lt Col Einar Berntsen, Battalion Commander of the Norwegian Artillery Battalion.
Odin FSS can utilize any IP based communication solution, which is designed especially for use of tactical low-band radios with a communication solution, tailor made for challenging terrain and extreme conditions such as the Arctic.
The artillery exercises Fires Shock, a drill on rapid deployment of long-range precision fires, encompassed a series of field artillery exercises. This was the first time, in over a quarter century that the U.S. Army conducted a MLRS live fire in Norway.
Arctic artillery training is important to increase NATO Allies’ ability to operate in extreme cold-weather, mountainous and high latitude environments. Exercises like these demonstrate the ability of NATO Allies in securing national interests, and the ability to command and control long-range fires in demanding environments.
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