New surveillance aircraft delivered
“Absolutely crucial for our security,” says prime minister
The Norwegian Armed Forces has received one of the new surveillance aircraft P-8A Poseidon. Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre (Labor Party) said that the new aircraft will strengthen capacity in the north.
“P-8A is a formidable platform for monitoring our sea areas. A completely new and strengthened capacity that gives Norwegian and allied civilian and military authorities a better basis for understanding and making decisions,” Støre said in a speech at Evenes airport on Feb. 25.
He spoke during the celebration for the reception of the Armed Forces’ new surveillance aircraft P-8A Poseidon at Evenes, where the Minister of Defense Odd Roger Enoksen (Center Party) and Chief of the Air Force Rolf Folland were also present.
“Crucial for our security”
In 2017, Norway entered into an agreement for the procurement of five P-8A aircraft from the U.S. authorities. By 2025, the American Armed Forces will deliver all five together with the necessary equipment to the Norwegian Armed Forces.
Already during 2023, the plan is for the new aircraft to take over the tasks that P-3 Orion has had for over 60 years from Andøya. The new maritime surveillance aircraft will monitor Norway’s vast sea areas.
“The surveillance aircraft are an important part of the government’s goal of strengthening the defense capability in northern Norway. It has not been adopted because of what is happening in Europe today but is part of a long developement for us to have modern eyes and ears in the north,” Støre said during the celebration on Feb. 25.
Støre pointed out that the new aircraft are important for emergency preparedness in the north and will gather information on military activity in Norway’s immediate areas.
“It is absolutely crucial for our security and for the security of our allies in NATO,” he said.
Based on civilian Boeing aircraft
Norway is one of eight countries that have chosen P-8A Poseidon as their new maritime patrol aircraft. During the year, two more such aircraft will arrive in Norway.
The aircraft is based on the civilian passenger aircraft Boeing 737, with upgrades and adaptations for military use. The planes also make it easier to detect submarines.
It is planned that there will be 10 crews of around 10 people on the five P8-A aircraft.
Chief of the Air Force Rolf Folland believes that the security policy situation may make the Norwegian surveillance aircraft even more important than they have been.
“It has been an important task for us in all years to build a situational picture of submarines operating in the High North, especially strategic submarines that can carry nuclear weapons. The security policy situation we are in now, actualizes that need even more,” he said.
He does not call the aircraft a revolution but a better capacity. It has higher speed, longer range, endurance, and load capacity to carry buoys, weapons, and more sensors.
“It is sharper in many areas, but there is no completely new way of conducting maritime surveillance,” said Folland.
According to the plan, the aircraft will begin its mission in August 2023.
“Now we are starting a period called operational test with evaluation, where we find out how to use the planes under Norwegian conditions. But the sensors are turned on from the first trip with the machine.
“It is gradual, and we start delivering already now, then it becomes more and more.”
Facts about the new maritime surveillance aircraft P-8A
* The agreement to supply five P-8As to replace the current P-3 Orion and DA-20 Jet Falcon was entered into with the U.S. authorities in March 2017.
* The agreement is a so-called Foreign Military Sales contract, which means that the Norwegian authorities, through Defense Materiel, order the aircraft from the American authorities, who in turn procure them from the aircraft manufacturer Boeing.
* The first of the new planes that came to Norway is called Viking. Norway’s first of the new maritime surveillance aircraft, P-8 Poseidon, landed on Norwegian soil for the first time on Feb. 24.
* Already during 2023, the plan is for the new aircraft to take over the tasks that P-3 Orion has had for over 60 years from Andøya. By 2025, both the P-8A and F-35 will be fully operational.
* The project’s cost framework is about NOK 11 billion.
* Norway is one of eight countries that have chosen P-8A Poseidon as their new maritime patrol aircraft. The aircraft is based on the civilian passenger aircraft Boeing 737 with upgrades and adaptations for military use.
* P-8A Poseidon’s main task is to take care of maritime surveillance and contribute to building a situational understanding in Norwegian local areas. Today’s P-3 Orion and the future’s P-8A Poseidon are absolutely essential in this important mission. A continuation of MPA operations at Evenes entails an investment in the defense capability in the north, which is of great importance to Norway and NATO, and which is adapted to the current threat picture.
Source: Norwegian government
This article originally appeared in the March 18, 2022, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.