Since the start of this week, special forces from the US Special Operations Command Europe (SOCEUR) have been training under their own auspices at Andøya, north of Nordland county, within the framework of the exercise Atreus.
On Wednesday, they carried out the European premiere of the new and experimental American weapons system Rapid Dragon in the sea area outside of Andøya. According to the US Air Force, this was also the first demonstration of the weapons system with live fire.
The system consists of long-range cruise missiles placed on pallets that are parachuted from military transport aircraft. What is special about this is that precisely such transport aircraft, which usually carry soldiers and various supplies, can also deploy guided missiles through a standard airdrop procedure.
The demonstration of Rapid Dragon in Northern Norway has been planned at least since early September. The location sends a clear signal to Russia.
“It puts this thing within range of Russia. We are intentionally trying to be provocative without being escalatory,” says Lieutenant Colonel Lawrence Melnicoff of the SOCEUR, leader of the Atreus exercise, to Stars and Stripes.
“We’re trying to deter Russian aggression, expansionist behavior, by showing enhanced capabilities of the allies,” he adds.