First F-35s arrive
M. Michael Brady
On Friday, November 3, three F-35 stealth fighter aircraft procured by the Royal Norwegian Air Force from Lockheed Martin Aeronautics of Fort Worth landed in Norway at the Ørland Main Air Station at the mouth of the Trondheimsfjord. They are part of an initial delivery of ten F-35 fighters, of which seven are now being used for training pilots and maintainers at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona, Elgin Air Force Base in Florida, and the Marine Corps Air Station near Beaufort, South Carolina. The delivery flight of the three fighters was direct from Fort Worth to Ørland, and took a little more than nine hours, with in-flight refueling.
The F-35 fighters will replace Norway’s F-16 fighters that have been operative since the early 1980s. Plans call for procuring up to 52 F-35 fighters, to be delivered in two batches a year of three fighters each, and for the F-35 implementation to be fully operational by the year 2025.
According to figures released by the Norwegian government (February 2, 2017), the total 2017 kroner procurement cost of the F-35 fighters will be NOK 71.5 billion ($8.78 billion), and the 2016 kroner overall lifetime cost of the fighters, including procurement, operation, upgrading, weapons, bases, and replacements through 2054 will be 268.1 billion ($32.9 billion). Link to governmental white paper at www.regjeringen.no/no/tema/forsvar/innsikt/kampfly/hva-koster-egentlig-nye-kampfly/id710435 (in Norwegian).
This article originally appeared in the Nov. 17, 2017, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.