Whether discussing the evolution of airpower in Japan, South Korea, Australia, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, or Italy, there is little question that the F-35 is seen as not only a priority but a key element for reshaping or renorming airpower.
The Norwegians have made this abundantly clear as well.
What follows is the Norwegian judgment about receiving their first F-35 late last month.
On Tuesday 22 September, the first Norwegian F-35 was officially presented in Texas. This marks the beginning of a new era for the Norwegian Armed Forces.
The aircraft was rolled out in front of some 300 prominent guests in Lockheed Martin’s aircraft final finishes hall in Fort Worth, Texas. Among the guests were Norwegian Minister of Defence, Ine Eriksen Søreide, and Chief of Defence, Admiral Haakon Bruun-Hanssen.
“This is a joyful day for us all. This shows that we are modernising our defence, and that is an important part of our activity,” said the Admiral.
Norway has decided to buy up to 52 new F-35A multirole fighters within 2025. The jets will replace today’s F-16 fighters gradually from 2019. The F-35s, however, are more than just a replacement for today’s Norwegian fighters.
“This jet’s combat capability is significantly better than the F-16’s. The advanced stealth technology increases its survivability and makes it easier to get close to an opponent without being detected. Also, the weapon systems have a significantly longer range than we have on the F-16s,” Bruun-Hanssen said.
In her speech, Norwegian Minister of Defence Ine Eriksen Søreide, pointed out the long-lasting and close relationship between Norway and the USA.
Several Norwegian companies have also contributed to the development and construction of the F-35s. Among them is Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace, which has developed the Joint Strike Missile in cooperation with the Norwegian Armed Forces. The missile will be integrated in the Norwegian F-35s.
STAYS IN THE USA
During the ceremony, the internationally renowned Norwegian trumpeter Ole Edvard Antonsen played his song “Vidda” (the mountain plateau in English). Antonsen wrote the song after being a passenger on board an F-16.
The building of Norway’s first F-35 started in September 2013. After some final testing it will fly to Luke Air Force Base in Arizona in November. Norway’s second F-35 is soon to be completed, and in 2016, Norway’s next two jets will be completed. The first four Norwegian jets will all be based at Luke, where the training and education of Norwegian F-35 pilots will be carried out.
A VITAL CAPACITY
The first Norwegian F-35 is scheduled to land in Norway in 2017, a milestone that the Chief of Defence is looking very much forward to:
“Absolutely. The F-35 is one of the most important platforms in tomorrow’s Norwegian defence.
We build most of our defence around the F-35s, and all the capacities in this jet,” said the Admiral.
Credit: Norwegian Ministry of Defence