The U.S. Navy now has an expeditionary medical facility in Norwegian caves.

The mobile hospital, which can function in the caves or head to other theaters, aims to cultivate joint processes and procedures with NATO allies in the region, according to the Navy.

Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet and U.S. Navy Expeditionary Medical Support Command spearheaded the initiative and delivered the mobile hospital to Norway’s Bogen Bay Sept. 25, the Navy said Oct 25.

“In this era of great power competition, distributing our capabilities around the globe drives down risk,” Rear Adm. Michael Curran, director of readiness and logistics for U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, said in a Navy news release. “The movement of an expeditionary hospital to Norway is a perfect example of how U.S. and allied forces provide mutual support in developing a resilient medical and logistics network.”

The expeditionary medical facility is outfitted with 20 intensive care unit beds, 130 acute care ward beds, along with four operating rooms and an emergency room. It also includes a laboratory and can administer x-ray and CT scans. The mobile hospital can take on as many as 30 hospital admissions and 36 surgical cases a day.

“Expeditionary Medical Facilities are deployable on short notice and contain many capabilities of a modern hospital,” said Lt. Cmdr. Michael Lucas, NEMSCOM’s director of operations, in a Navy news release. “A benefit of the EMF is its self-sufficiency and sustainability due to the variety of Civil Engineering Support Equipment present in the caves. The caves provided an excellent storage solution for quick stow and EMF deployment. The Norwegian military has been extremely cooperative and professional in the support of our mission.”

Until 2003, the U.S. Navy based two fleet hospitals, each supplied with 500 beds, out of Norway, When Operation Iraqi Freedom began, they were sent to Kuwait and Rota, Spain, in support before returning to the United States for resupply and repairs.

The fleet hospitals were replaced in 2007 with expeditionary medical facilities, which were designed with more flexibility to respond to military operations.

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