Norway Orders New Spy Ship for the High North

27 10 2010
 
The Norwegian Intelligence Service has ordered a new research vessel to replace “F/S Marjata”, which has been patrolling the Barents Sea for the last 15 years, Russian military analysts report.

According to the Russian Centre for Analysis of World Arms Trade (CAWAT), the Norwegian Intelligence Service (NIS) has already ordered a new vessel for collection of intelligence in the High North. This information has not yet been confirmed by Norwegian media.

According to CAWAT, Head of NIS Lieutenant General Kjell Grandhagen told Jane’s Navy International that the price of the new vessel will amount to NOK 1.2 billion (€148 million). Other details about the project are not yet known.

The budget allocation to the Intelligence service has increased with 35 percent from 2005 till today, from NOK 690 million (€86 million) to NOK 930 million (€116 million), Aftenposten reported.

NIS’ current research vessel “F/S Marjata” was built in Norway in 1993 and taken into service in 1995. The vessel has been operating in the Barents Sea close to the border of Russia ever since. The vessel’s main base is in Kirkenes.

Although the Norwegian military intelligence today is characterized by more active espionage in war-zones where Norwegian soldiers are involved, the activity in the north is still of high priority.

Read also: Norway continues High North espionage

F/S Marjata’s main task is to keep track of the Russian armed forces’ activities in the Arctic, but some sources also believe it to be part of the American ballistic missile early warning system, CAWAT writes.

The research vessel is a familiar sight for the Russian navy mariners, who have given it pet names like Mashka and Marusya, according to the blogger MuRena.

Wikipedia:

The F/S «Marjata» is a purpose-built electronic intelligence collection vessel (ELINT). She is the third ship that bears the name «Marjata», all of which has been used for military intelligence purposes by the Norwegian Armed Forces. She is owned by the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment, but operated by the Norwegian Intelligence Service, and is considered to be one of the most advanced ships of her kind in the world. Her main role is surveillance of the Russian Northern fleet`s activity in the Barents Sea, but is constructed for operations all over the world. She operates in international waters close to the Russian border. Officially she is referred to as a research ship of the Norwegian Intelligence Service.








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