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HomeWORLD NEWSAccidentally shutting off NATO's new 'eye' in Norway

Accidentally shutting off NATO’s new ‘eye’ in Norway

When plans to build a new NATO radar facility at Gyrihaugen near Oslo were abruptly abandoned because it would interfere with other surveillance systems in the area, Norway’s defense department had to acknowledge a major oversight just as last week’s NATO summit was beginning.

After spending millions and defacing the landscape of a well-known hiking area there, plans for the facility were shattered.

This is how the new Gyrihaugen radar installation was expected to appear and function by 2025. After a new road and other site preparations left an untouched forest scarred and the radar would have interfered with other installations in the vicinity, the project, which was supposed to be part of “NATO’s eyes” in the north, has now been abandoned. Forsvaret, PHOTO ILLUSTRATION

Lasse Halaas, chief engineer for Forsvarsmateriell, the defense division in charge of acquiring and managing defense material and projects, described the situation at Gyrihaugen as “a sorry situation.” The radar could be used in conjunction with other (surveillance) infrastructure in the vicinity, according to earlier evaluations and experiments.

However, recent and purportedly exhaustive testing of “interference and robustness,” conducted by Norway’s defense research institution FFI, demonstrated differently. Gyrihaugen’s new radar system can’t actually be installed there since it would interfere with nearby radar stations.

It’s a humiliating setback for the radar project, which was still meant to significantly improve Norway’s defense capabilities and support NATO surveillance operations.Just six weeks prior, the project’s director, Ylva Sneve, told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK), that the Gyrihaugen project will be the first in a new series of radar systems utilizing cutting-edge technology “to meet future challenges.

” Sneve also disclosed to NRK in late May that three current radar stations will be refurbished and five of the radar installations would be installed in new sites across the nation.

Gyrihaugen has long been a sought-after destination for hikers and skiers because of its breathtaking views. The vista is still there, but the ascent to it has been ruined by unnecessary development. Photo by Morten Mst from NewsinEnglish.no

The ability for people to hike in the area is vital to us, but they won’t be permitted to fly drones over the facility or take pictures of it, Sneve told NRK. Additionally, it was planned to fence off and clearly label the Gyrihaugen top as a military zone.

The military department’s flag commander and chief of investments, Anders Bakke, asserted that “many security- and risk evaluations were carried out” as the radar project moved forward after its first announcement in 2019.

The proposed radar can’t be installed in Gyrihaugen after all, according to the latest tests from FFI, thus “we have to take the consequences and halt construction,” Bakke stated.

This is taking place after a contentious, two-kilometer road was constructed to provide vehicles access to Gyrihaugen’s peak, which has long been a well-liked hiking and skiing destination due to its expansive vistas of the mountains in Southern Norway. Naturvernforbundet, the leadership of Friends of the Earth’s Norwegian branch, is not pleased.

Other military stations have long been atop Gyrihaugen, such as this one from 2009, but the region has remained open and accessible. It still will be, although there are already requests to remediate environmental harm caused by the radar project that was halted. Photo by Morten Mst from NewsinEnglish.no

Hkon Eide Gundersen of the group told the daily Aftenposten that all of the destruction (of the local forest) that has taken place is now a complete waste. Although he acknowledged that bikers will now find it simpler to ride to the summit, he lamented the loss of “a lot of valuable nature.”

Naturvernforbundet and other organizations were unable to review or contest the defense department’s assessments of radar installation sites. Gyrihaugen had been selected in this instance as the first in a series of new radar stations to monitor Norwegian air space from eight different sites in Finnmark, Nordland, Trndelag, Rogaland, Hedmark, and Ringerike. Three of the areas are already used for monitoring.

According to the Norwegian government, the NOK 8 billion project would be “an important milestone for the Norwegian defense sector” and the radar will be one of “NATO’s eyes in the north.”

Since it means that all five Nordic nations may now create a considerably stronger northern flank, Norway, a founding member of NATO, is extremely happy that both Sweden and Finland have decided to join the organization.

By 2030, the new radar chain is still planned to be operational. By 2025, the initial Gyrihaugen site was supposed to be operational. Before the Gyrihaugen section of the project was suspended, contracts worth NOK 70 million had already been signed.

According to defense authorities, they have “good and constructive cooperation” with regional leaders and environmental consultants about how the project may have the least amount of impact.

Defense authorities are now willing to talk about what happens next and whether some of the environmental damage can be repaired, according to Gundersen of Naturvernforbundet. But he added that it would take time for the trees to regrow.

By September 1st, the defense department must now suggest an alternative location to take the place of the Gyrihaugen radar facility. The project’s overall budget is anticipated to include the additional expenses brought on by the Gyrihaugen cancellation.

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