The United States Air Force (USAF) recently deployed its fifth-generation F-35 fighter jet to Thule, its northernmost military installation in the world, in Greenland. This deployment was part of a two-week North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) exercise that concluded on January 31. The presence of the F-35 stealth fighters is significant as it is believed to be the first time NORAD has deployed them to Thule. The strategic importance of this base lies in its history as it was secretly constructed during the Cold War as an outpost to launch possible nuclear strikes against the Soviet Union. The US has increased its military activities in the Arctic to counter the Russian militarization of the region and China’s consistent efforts at expanding its presence. To bolster diplomatic ties, the US has created the position of Arctic ambassador-at-large and the USAF has published its Arctic Strategy. The recent NORAD deployment and exercises at Thule demonstrate the agility of capabilities in support of Arctic defense.
Today: December 9, 2023