Norway’s parliament has voted to approve an order for 52 F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters for its air force, authorising the acquisition of the first two jets.
Under the order, Norway’s first two aircraft will be operated in the US, along with two others being delivered in 2016 for training purposes. The remaining 48 F-35s delivered from 2017 onwards will be based at Ørland Main Air Station in central Norway.
As part of the deal, Norway has also confirmed that its locally developed Kongsberg Joint Strike Missile anti-ship and maritime strike weapon will be integrated into the F-35 following dialogue with the US Department of Defense.
“The F-35 provides operational capabilities and partnership opportunities that strengthen and enhance Norway’s security, European security and the NATO alliance,” said Lockheed Martin director international business development Jim Latham.
“We consider it a great privilege to work with Norway’s government and industry to build and deliver fifth generation fighter capabilities to the Royal Norwegian Air Force and provide high technology industrial benefits to Norwegian industry.”
The overall cost of the procurement phase of the project is estimated at NOK 60bn (A$9.96bn) in real terms, making it the largest ever military procurement in Norway’s history.
The Joint Strike Missile, which can be carried internally in the F-35’s weapons bays, is of interest to the RAAF in providing its forthcoming F-35As with a naval strike capability.
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