Ice cold Nordic cooperation underneath the surface

Diving personnel from four of the Nordic countries are visiting Boden during the week to test different types of diving equipment.“Within the framework of the Nordic cooperation agreement and Nordefco we now work together when procuring new equipment.  Boden is the ultimate environment to ensure that the equipment meets our common requirements,” says Jerry Lindén from the DNC in Karlskrona.

Three nations in the ice cold Lulea river: Kenneth Larsen, Denmark, Petri Pekkala, Finland and Jerry Lindén, Sweden. Norwegian divers also participated in the testing of the equipment but they did not undertake any dives on this occasion. Photo: Mats Carlsson/Försvarsmakten

DNC is the abbreviation for the Armed Forces Diving and Naval Medicine Centre, and has overall responsibility for all diving operations within the Swedish Armed Forces. The centre leads the development and training in diving operations both from a national and an international perspective. For training and testing activities in a subarctic climate, the centre cooperates with the Norrbotten Regiment and the Armed Forces’ Winter Unit in Boden.

Nordic cooperation

In 2009 another step was taken to deepen Nordic cooperation through the establishment of Nordefco, Nordic Defence Cooperation. The cooperation covers the entire scope of the Armed Forces’ operations including logistics and maintenance, training and exercises, operational activities such as air and maritime surveillance, international operations and the procurement of materiel.

The purpose of the Nordic defence cooperation is to strengthen the parties’ national defence, explore joint synergies and find effective common solutions. Closer cooperation between the various countries’ armed forces, through an increased division of labour and effective collaboration solutions, will contribute to a more efficient use of resources, breadth of military capabilities as well as improved international interoperability for the Swedish Armed Forces.
“At the moment there are only 200 divers in the Armed Forces, and the specifying of the requirements, the testing and the procurement of equipment costs an enormous amount of money, considering the fact that there are so few users. Being able to cooperate with our neighbouring Nordic countries for the procurement of equipment, but also for education and training is simply a must today,” says Captain Daniel Lindman, in charge of diving instruction at the Armed Forces’ Winter Unit I 19.

Centre for winter diving

On Thursday 26 January, it was decided that the function for diving in a subarctic environment should remain in Boden.
“I am very pleased about this decision, up here we have the very best conditions and possess unique skills in diving in a subarctic environment which we must have. As now for example, when we together with diving personnel from Finland, Norway and Denmark are testing equipment,” says Jerry Linden, head of the development department at DNC.

“When we come up here, the personnel have already laid the table for us. We are spared several hours of preparatory work, such as making holes in the ice and clearing the snow to the diving sites. This means that we get the most possible time for diving and that is worth a lot to us,” Jerry Linden continues.

Daniel Lindman is also very pleased with the test week.
– We have really been able to use the time efficiently. Up until and including Wednesday, we have already managed to do 25 dives, and that is rather a lot in these conditions when the temperature has remained at least 20 degrees below zero all of the time.

During the week our tests have included equipment for air supply, active thermal jackets, masks, thermal underwear and video equipment.