Allied Unity Afloat: US Aircraft Carrier Joins NATO Drills In Norway

A U.S. aircraft carrier arrived in Oslo on Wednesday, and the Norwegian military said it gives them “a unique chance to work more closely with our most important ally, the United States.”

The nuclear-powered USS Gerald R. Ford went into the Oslo harbor with a fast boat with armed people on board to protect it. The Norwegian military said that any boats must stay a half-kilometer (half-mile) away from the aircraft carrier, and a no-fly zone was set up over the area where the aircraft carrier was.

The ship, which is called the world’s largest aircraft carrier, will stay in the Norwegian city until Tuesday. Then, it will likely take part in drills with the Norwegian military.

The ship’s first call to a country outside of Norway was shown live on Norwegian public TV. People on land, some with glasses, could be seen watching the big aircraft carrier glide deeper and deeper into the fjord until it reached Oslo.

Laila Wilhelmsen, who was standing along the path in Droebak, said that she grew up in the small town about halfway through the fjord during the Cold War, when “there were warships here all the time.”

“I don’t know, but now we’ve teased Putin (the Russian president) even more. I think it’s scary,” she told the Norwegian news station NRK.

The Russian Embassy in Oslo said that these kinds of power shows make no sense and are dangerous.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine, relations between Oslo and Moscow have been tense. In the Arctic, Norway and Russia share a border that is 198 kilometers (123 miles) long.

The Norwegian Coastal Administration said that two of its pilots were on board to guide the ship through the more than 100-kilometer-long (62-mile-long) fjord, and that the depth of the 76-meter-tall (250-foot-tall) ship was “the big challenge.”

The administration said, “The aircraft carrier stays just on the edge of the maximum depth allowed by sailing rules for the Oslo fjord.”

Norwegian news agency NTB wrote that the aircraft carrier moored off the island of Ormoeya in the inner part of Oslofjord later on Wednesday.

Early in May, the U.S. Navy announced that the ship had left Norfolk, Virginia, for its “first combat deployment.” This came after a shorter deployment of only two months in the fall of 2022.

The ship is the first of the new Ford class of aircraft carriers for the U.S. Navy. Two more carriers of the Ford class are being built right now.

About 2,600 sailors live on the ship, which is 600 less than the last wave of aircraft carriers.

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