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Shooting range for cluster weapons

Foreign cluster weapons are scheduled to be tested on Regionfelt Eastern Norway.


[cluster weapons] Testing of other countries' cluster weapons is planned on the test field in Region field Eastern Norway. Secretary of State Espen Barth Eide in the Ministry of Defense confirms that allies can also use the new field to be expanded from the summer. The purpose is to test similar cluster weapons that Norway has in stock: ground-fired cluster munitions, so-called cargo ammunition.

The Storting has previously decided that Norway should work for an international ban on cluster bombs, and the red-green government has introduced a ban on the use of cluster weapons Norway has in stock.

Norwegian People's Aid responds head-on to the information. From then on, the organization is concerned that Norway will carry out blasts of its own cluster munitions that are now in stock, to re-check the blind thread percentage. The blasts are already happening in the autumn at the Hjerkinn test field.

- That one uses a lot of resources here to test cluster munitions that the Soria Moria Declaration will ban, is an absurdity. When the Armed Forces also allows foreign forces to test cluster munitions, it is not only absurd, but a direct provocation, says Per Nergaard, head of the mining section of Norwegian People's Aid.

He questions how much the Soria Moria Declaration is worth when Norway now expands a firing range just to test weapons that the government is working politically to ban.

- All cluster munitions have problems related to wide range and danger of civilian damage. In addition to this, they have blind percentages to varying degrees, with about the same effect as anti-personnel mines, says Nergaard.

It was scandalous when a French aircraft dropped cluster bombs on Hjerkinn in 2002. At that time, the critics focused primarily on aircraft-delivered cluster weapons. Now, the humanitarian organizations have been politically consulted that all types of cluster weapons must be viewed together.

As recently as last year, British forces tested ground-fired cluster weapons, so-called L20 cargo grenades, on Hjerkinn, and the field will continue to be used for this purpose until the expanded Regional Area Eastern Norway is ready.

Open to others

[being built] The test and experimental facility on the Eastern Norway Regional Field shall be ready for use within three years. Following the downsizing and restructuring of the Army, there has been great overcapacity in the new Regional Field in relation to the needs of the Armed Forces. It is therefore open for other countries to be able to practice in the field, and according to Ny Tid's experience, testing of cluster munitions is precisely what the allied countries have expressed a desire for.

SV against new testing

[shared] SV's defense policy spokesman Bjørn Jacobsen goes against the creation of a new field for cluster munitions testing within Region Eastern Norway. Still, he can accept a certain degree of cluster weapons testing in the existing field at Hjerkinn.

- I distinguish between testing of cluster munitions and training with cluster munitions. Testing can help get rid of the worst cluster munitions. But Regionfelt Østlandet is a military training area, therefore SV will not have testing there, says Jacobsen.


  • Class bombs are disputed conventional weapons with a wide field of impact, leaving behind blinders where they are used.
  • The Storting has decided to work for an international ban on cluster bombs dropped from aircraft, and has a very restrictive stance on ground-delivered cluster weapons. The policy entails a ban on weapon types with more than one per cent of blind people, and a self-imposed ban on all use in international operations.
  • Despite this policy, allied countries can use Norwegian training fields to train on cluster munitions.

By Tarjei Leer-Salvesen and Harald Eraker,

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