Research Articles

Military Muscle-Flexing as Interstate Communication: Russian NOTAM Warnings off the Coast of Norway, 2015–2021



When, where, and why does Russia issue warnings about missile launches and other potentially dangerous military activities in international waters and airspace west and north of Norway? Drawing on information derived from a series of Russian “Notices to Airmen” (NOTAMs), this article examines the pattern of Russia’s live-fire air and naval exercises in and over the Norwegian and Barents Seas between January 2015 and December 2021. It discusses factors that may explain the extent and nature of Russia’s military muscle-flexing in the region. The study suggests that a number of the Russian exercises and missile launches, particularly in areas adjacent to Norway’s west coast, were primarily meant to obstruct Norwegian/NATO exercises such as the Trident Juncture exercise of 2018. On a number of occasions, Russia’s NOTAM warnings appear to have been tailored for the purpose of intimidating Norway and its allies and communicating Russia’s displeasure with the occasional presence of United States and other NATO forces on or outside Norway’s territory.


RussiaNorwayHigh NorthSignalingExercisesNaval Diplomacy
  • Year: 2022
  • Volume: 5 Issue: 1
  • Page/Article: 63–78
  • DOI: 10.31374/sjms.133
  • Submitted on 26 Nov 2021
  • Accepted on 4 Apr 2022
  • Published on 14 Jun 2022
  • Peer Reviewed