Stepping up to the mark

Now that the naval force has spent a week in joint build-up exercises according to a predetermined schedule, it is time to enter the next phase of the Trident Juncture exercise. A phase based on a fictitious scenario. NATO member Norway has been attacked and the military alliance comes to its aid. Sweden is also participating in accordance with the Declaration of Solidarity, and against this background, the Swedish corvettes are now taking the next step.

One of the look-outs on HMS Nyköping keeps an eye on the immediate area for threats from the air or the surface. Photo: Alexander Gustavsson/Försvarsmakten
The large amphibious vessels are exposed while ferrying soldiers and materials onshore. They need to be protected and the Swedish vessels are responsible for protection at close quarters. Photo: Alexander Gustavsson/Försvarsmakten
A new view but the same job on board. Photo: Alexander Gustavsson/Försvarsmakten
As everywhere on board a warship, effective teamwork is a decisive factor for the outcome. Photo: Alexander Gustavsson/Försvarsmakten

“So far everything has gone very well. We have been integrated into NATO’s naval force, SNMG1, without any problems to speak of. Much of this is thanks to the great desire on NATO’s side for us to participate”, says Thomas Zimmerman, who is captain of HMS Nyköping.

But now the initial part of the exercise is over and it’s time to step up to the mark. The attack on Norway will be met in unison. Under the command of a Danish admiral on board the flagship, the Danish support vessel HDMS Esbern Snare, the Swedish crews will demonstrate their capabilities.


The Swedish vessels are now likely to be used in inshore and coastal areas, complementing the much larger NATO vessels and adding a new capability that we are very accustomed to from the Swedish archipelago. To use rapid reaction and our manoeuvrability to face the threat.

“Thanks to our first-rate sensors and the size of our vessel, we can move both faster but also in places inaccessible to many of the larger vessels”, says Wilhelm, who is surface combat commander.

A major threat to the large amphibious vessels is the small fast-moving boats and aircraft. Something they have difficulty defending against while ferrying soldiers and vehicles onshore. The short distances in the fjords mean that fast motorboats and other threats must be detected and counteracted quickly. That’s why there are personnel on the bridge who are prepared and on the look-out for incoming threats. Despite modern sensors, eyes and ears are still invaluable.


In only the last ten years, Swedish vessels and their crews have been working in the most varied climates, such as in the Gulf of Aden to combat piracy, exercises around the Swedish coast and now in Norway. Despite this, Thomas Zimmerman believes that the work on board does not differ that much:

“It’s really just the colour of the sea that's different. On board, we work according to our drilled procedures in exactly the same way”.


However, one thing that distinguishes this exercise from our own national exercises is its size, the number of naval vessels, aircraft, vehicles and people. The importance of having partners who pull together in the face of a crisis becomes clear. Today, the Swedish Armed Forces is highly competent but too small. That's why Sweden participates in solidarity with others in exercises such as Trident Juncture.