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Norwegian Military Caves

Weapon storage facility

Norwegian military caves

The Norwegian military caves around Trondheim are used to store US Marine Corps vehicles and equipment

 
 
Country Norway
Personnel ~ 100 men
Area ?
Coordinates (approximate location) 6327′27″N 01055′27″E

 

   During the Cold War a number of military caves were built in Norway under a plan to position a US Marine Corps equipment in Europe in case of the war with the Soviet Union. The first cave opened in 1982. It is known that there are at least 8 of such military caves are in different locations around the region of Trondheim. The whole complex was completed in 1988. These military caves are managed by the US Marines. Three of them are used to store military vehicles, three are storing munitions while two hold aviation support equipment. In case of war the US Marines could briefly deploy from Norway to nearby regions. The whole program is officially called the Marine Corps Prepositioning Program-Norway, or MCPP-N.

   With the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War weapons and equipment stored in these caves were used during numerous military conflicts. Currently this facility has a very wide reach. Equipment from the caves can go to conflict areas all over the world. A map in the complex depicting worldwide deployments showed vehicles used as far as Cambodia.

   All of these military caves were purpose-built, rather than modified from existing geological formations. All of the vehicles, gear and equipment stored there are in well maintained order. Even though many vehicles have been used hard before, all of them are in good running order and await for their next assignment.

   The caves are large and wide passageways with high ceilings and concrete floor. The caves are well lit and have constant temperature and humidity. So there are no issues with corrosion.

   The vehicles, gear and equipment are constantly taken out for various operations and exercises. In 2003 more than 6 000 items were withdrawn for the invasion of Iraq. In 2005 the caves were only about 30% full, but were gradually filled back up. Currently the facility is about 70% full and it is planned that in the near future the caves will be nearly 100% full.

   In 2012 these facilities were modernized to support a modern Marine air and ground task force. Modernization process was planned to be completed in 2016. It has been reported that armored vehicles and equipment stored in these caves can support an expeditionary force of roughly around 15 000 US Marines. Also there are enough supplies stored in the caves for such force to operate for 30 days. However currently there are no plans to expand the caves.

   Currently a variety of vehicles are stored here, including M1A1 Abrams tanks, AAV7 amphibious armored personnel carriers, LAV-25 armored reconnaissance vehicles, LVSR heavy high mobility trucks, MTVR trucks and HMMWV light tactical vehicles, recovery vehicles, artillery systems, construction and earthmoving equipment, trailers, towed carriages, generators, bulk fuel, tents, shelters, various tools. Aircraft support equipment includes towing tractors, cranes, de-icing equipment, and so on.

   Vehicles stored here display a variety of paint and camouflage schemes. Once new vehicles appear from the United States, or various combat theaters, these are being fixed up, refurbished and prepared for the future missions. Their engines and transmissions can be rebuilt or replaced on the spot. Most of the maintenance work is done by more than 70 Norwegian soldiers, who work here under the leadership of around 30 US Marines.

   All of this forward-deployed gear is ready to respond anytime in case of military crisis. All equipment from the caves can be redeployed by aircraft, ships, railroad or using road and motorway network.

 

 
Norwegian military caves

Norwegian military caves

Norwegian military caves

Norwegian military caves

Norwegian military caves

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