After ten years of vacancy, the Bundeswehr again took part in the Rapid Viking exercise in Iceland. The focus was on rapid logistical deployment. The participation also highlights the tactical importance of the Arctic.
Tactical Air Squadron 73 “Steinhoff” flew all the material needed for the exercise to Iceland within a week. In addition, the soldiers transported personnel and weapons systems to the island. The aim of the exercise was to “generate a maximum operational footprint with the lowest possible personnel and material resources”. In addition, participation was intended to demonstrate alliance solidarity. The Bundeswehr participated with a total of six Eurofighters from Tactical Air Wing 73 “S” from Laage and 30 soldiers. For this, 25 tons of material had to be flown to Iceland.
he German Armed Forces were motivated to participate again because they see the Arctic as having a new significance following the geographic changes caused by climate change. The region is rich in natural resources. In addition, new shipping routes are opening up as a result of the melting ice. An opening of the Arctic Ocean can be observed. This has aroused the interest of international powers such as China. In addition, tensions between the littoral states, all of which lay claim to the region’s resources, are becoming apparent. Moreover, environmental degradation threatens the Arctic’s unique flora and fauna.
NATO is committed to deterrence through presence in the North Polar region. However, it does not rule out cooperation with Russia or China.