Three new F-35s land in Norway

This delivery makes six of the fighter planes on Norwegian soil; ramping to full capacity by 2025

F-35s

Photo: Torbjørn Kjosvold / Forsvaret
Three new F-35 fighter jets arrived at Norway’s Ørland Air Force base on May 22.

Ministry of Defense

On May 22, three new F-35 aircraft landed at Ørland Air Base in Norway. Six aircraft are now on Norwegian soil.

“Our new F-35s are a major investment and the most important acquisition to strengthen the defense capabilities of our armed forces,” said Defense Minister Frank Bakke-Jensen.

“Delivered on time, the three new aircraft represent a new milestone in our acquisition program. We are now another step closer to reaching Full Operation Capability with the F-35 in 2025. Until then, we have a lot of infrastructure to build on the two air bases Ørland and Evenes. New equipment and systems need to be fitted, and dedicated personnel are being educated and trained on the new combat aircraft system to be able to ensure Norway’s safety and sovereignty in the future. The F-35 will significantly strengthen our armed forces’ joint defense capability,” said Bakke-Jensen.

According to the plan, Norway will receive six new F-35s every year until 2024. Today’s arrival follows the delivery of the three first aircraft in November 2017. Since then, the Norwegian Air Force has been carrying out operational testing and evaluation of the F-35 in Norwegian conditions, aiming for Initial Operational Capability (IOC) in 2019.

“With the F-35, we are introducing a completely new concept, requiring our entire armed forces to adapt and innovate. I am confident of the efforts our dedicated personnel are putting in to reach IOC in 2019,” said the Defense Minister.

A major capability
Based on parliament’s ambitions, Norway plans to acquire up to 52 F-35 combat aircraft for national defense purposes. The number is verified by analyses carried out by the Norwegian Defense Research Establishment and the Ministry of Defense, and confirmed by the latest threat assessments and the armed forces’ long-term plan.

“We will conclude our acquisition and reach Full Operational Capability by 2025. The F-35 can identify, locate, and strike heavily defended targets, and it offers high survivability faced with modern threats. The aircraft is difficult to detect on radar and can operate in high-threat areas where today’s F-16 cannot. The F-35 has sensors with great reach and high resolution, which offers good situational awareness for both our own and allied forces. An advanced weapons system, the F-35 offers a major capability that will strengthen our ability to react quickly to threats over great distances,” said Maj. Gen. Morten Klever, director of the F-35 acquisition program at the Ministry of Defense.

Training and education on track
In addition to the six aircraft now at Ørland Air Base, the Norwegian Air Force has seven F-35s stationed at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona. These are being used for training and education.

This article oiginally appeared in the June 1, 2018, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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