How Does a Nuclear Reactor Drive an Aircraft Carrier?

On Tuesday, the USS Gerald R. Ford made history by becoming the first American aircraft carrier to arrive in Norway in more than 65 years. The impressive nuclear-powered vessel, considered the world’s largest warship, was escorted by a dinghy-type speedboat with armed personnel on board.

A no-fly zone was established over the Oslo Fjord, where the carrier was located, and civilian vessels were instructed to keep at least half a mile away.

Exercise Formidable Shield 2023

The visit coincides with Exercise Formidable Shield 2023, conducted by the U.S. 6th Fleet and STRIKFORNATO from the High North and North Atlantic Ocean May 8-26.

The USS Gerald R. Ford deployment serves as a NATO show of force at a time when tensions with Russia over the war in Ukraine have escalated.

Jonny Karlsen, the spokesman for the Norwegian Joint Headquarters, stressed the importance of this visit as a sign of the close bilateral relationship between the United States and Norway, as well as the credibility of collective defense and deterrence. The USS Gerald R. Ford will remain in the Norwegian capital until Tuesday before taking part in joint exercises with the Norwegian armed forces in the Arctic.

Why is The largest aircraft carrier in the world is at the gates of Russia?

USS Gerald R. Ford in the Norwegian Arctic

The arrival of the aircraft carrier has not gone unnoticed by Russia. Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, relations between Oslo and Moscow have been tense. Norway and Russia share a 198-kilometer border in the Arctic. However, the Russian embassy in Norway has stated that no issues in the North require a military solution or outside intervention.

According to Timur Chekanov, a spokesman for the Russian embassy, ​​these shows of force seem illogical and damaging, especially considering that Norway admits that Russia does not pose a direct military threat.

Opinions in Norway about the visit

While some Norwegian voices expressed concern about the carrier’s visit, saying it could create unnecessary tension, others believe it shows NATO’s determination and might. Laila Wilhelmsen, a resident near the fjord, recalled the constant presence of warships during the Cold War and commented that this visit could make Russian President Vladimir Putin uncomfortable.

Next week, training exercises will test this formidable aircraft carrier’s full capabilities, which will undoubtedly raise more concerns for the Russian leader.


The presence of the USS Gerald R. Ford in Norway and its participation in the Formidable Shield 2023 exercise demonstrates the commitment of the United States and NATO to collective defense and deterrence on the northern flank of the Alliance. The visit strengthens bilateral relations between the United States and Norway and sends a signal of determination in the face of tensions with Russia.

Although there are conflicting opinions in Norway, the deployment of the world’s largest aircraft carrier raises concern for the Russian leader. It underlines the strategic importance of the Arctic in the current geopolitical scenario.