F-35 arrivals propel Norwegian air force modernization
Norway has recently received three of the forty F-35 Lightning II fighter jet aircraft from Lockheed Martin to beef up its air force.
Norway is the fourth country after the United States, Israel and Italy to receive the planes.
Norway‘s King Harald V, Prime Minister Erna Solberg, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide, Minister of Defense Frank Bakke-Jensen, Minister of Trade and Industry Monica Mæland and CEO of Lockheed Martin Marilynn Hewson gathered to greet the Norwegian pilots.
— Jens Stoltenberg (@jensstoltenberg) November 10, 2017
“This marks the start of reaching the next milestone: making the aircraft combat ready,” says Royal Norwegian Air Force chief of staff Maj Gen Tonje Skinnarland. The new type is scheduled to achieve initial operational capability status with the service during 2019, and to be declared fully operational in 2025.
“The F-35 remains crucial to the continued modernization of our armed forces, and our ability to preserve Norwegian and allied security and interests,” says defense minister Frank Bakke-Jensen.
The arrival of F-35 has marked the beginning of a new era for the Royal Norwegian Air Force as the F-35A will gradually replace the F-16 fighter jets that have been the backbone of Norwegian Air Force since 1980.
“From 2018, Norway will receive six aircraft annually up until, and including, 2024,” the nation’s defense ministry says. Maj Gen Morten Klever, its F-35 programme director, notes that Oslo’s acquisition is “delivering on all key criteria: time, cost and performance”.
— Oana Lungescu (@NATOpress) November 9, 2017
Lockheed announced on 6 November that it has delivered a full-mission simulator for the F-35 to Norway. Once operational at Ørland, this will be used to deliver “pilot qualification, continuation and mission-rehearsal training”, it says.
The estimated cost of acquiring 52 new combat aircraft would be NOK 67.9 billion ($8.36 billion) in 2015 values, including support equipment, simulators, weapons and training, according to the Norwegian Ministry of Defense.
Norway becomes first partner nation to receive F-35 Mission data software file
Norway has also become the first foreign nation to receive the delivery of Block 3F mission data from US Air Force’s 53rd Electronic Warfare Group’s Partner Support Complex last week.
“Our software provides the Norwegian F-35 an unprecedented precision attack capability – a crucial element to maintaining peace,” Robert Kraus, F-35 PSC director said in a statement.
The delivery of Block 3F mission data is important because it enables the F-35 to accomplish its primary missions of air interdiction, close air support, and suppression and destruction of enemy air defenses.
“Mission data files are essential to the combat capability of the Lightning II,” said Dylan Duplechain, F-35 PSC chief engineer. “They provide the warfighter situational awareness capability and an ability to react to the threat environment.”
PSC is charged with programing the essential mission data software for eight F-35 partner nations, to include Norway, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, and Denmark.