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UK commandos get new Arctic training hub

Photo: Royal Navy

The UK Royal Marines Commandos have received a new operations base in the Arctic region that will support their training and operations for the next decade.

The newly-established Camp Viking, located in the village of Øverbygd in northern Norway, will serve as the central location for the commandos. The unit has a legacy of Arctic warfare dating back to World War II, and as the High North region has become a key theater, they required modern facilities for their operations.

Camp Viking has been purpose-built to house all personnel from the UK’s Littoral Response Group (LRG), which is a commando-led Royal Marines force that responds to emerging crises in Europe.

It is situated near a Norwegian Armed Forces base and the established air base at Bardufoss, where the Commando Helicopter Force operates. This strategic location enables the UK to respond quickly to threats in the region and protect NATO’s northern flank and Norway.

The camp has the capacity to accommodate up to 1,000 commandos, who are currently undergoing winter training alongside Joint Expeditionary Force and NATO allies. According to Major Kirk Allen, comandante of the winter deployment, Camp Viking will serve as the focal point for mountain and cold weather warfare training and as a forward operating base to support NATO operations.

“Capable of logistically sustaining an LRG of Royal Marines, sailors, and soldiers, the location has great local training areas, is close to Sorreisa port for amphibious operations, and can support the personnel, vehicles, and equipment with its first-class facilities.“

This year’s winter deployment serves to hone the Arctic warfare skills of the commandos, including survival, movement, and combat, in preparation for exercise Joint Viking. This exercise is part of the broader exercise JEF Warrior, which involves close collaboration between UK personnel and Norwegian and other allied forces. Joint Viking’s objective is to showcase Norway’s capacity to operate effectively with allies in harsh winter conditions.

Joint Viking takes place as part of the regular cycle of exercises in Norway between large-scale exercises such as Cold/Nordic Response.

According to the UK defense ministry, Norway remains committed to investing in the Camp Viking site, with the investment continuing to enhance the site’s capability to support the Commando Forces and broader UK defense efforts.