Norwegian officials have underscored their commitment to buying  the F-35, pointing out that they are a counterweight to Russian military build-up.

Norwegian Defense Minister Ine Eriksen Soereide said Norway was concerned about what she called an “obvious projection of power” by Russia in the Baltic Sea region, where Russian military flights increased threefold from 2013 to 2014.

Norway participates in the F-35 program as a Level 3 partner in the system development and demonstration phase, with a view to enabling its industry to compete for industrial opportunities. Norwegian National Deputy Rune Fagerli, the country’s sole representative on the Joint Strike Fighter program, told SPACE.com that the Norwegian Royal Ministry of Defence has pledged $125 million in preparation to replace a fleet of F-16 jets that have about 12 years left of operation.

The F-35 was evaluated along with JAS 39 Gripen by the Norwegian Future Combat Aircraft Capability Project as a replacement for the F-16s currently in-service. In 2008, the government released a statement saying it will support buying F-35s for the Royal Norwegian Air Force instead of the Gripen NG.

In 2010 leaked United States diplomatic cables revealed that the USA decided to delay a request by Sweden for an AESA radar for the Gripen until after Norway had announced their decision to buy the F-35. The same cables indicated that Norwegian consideration of the Gripen “was just a show” and that Norway had decided to purchase the F-35 as a result of “high-level political pressure” from the US. Following the successful sale of the F-35 to Norway, US officials compiled a “lessons learned” memo that included a list of tactics for future sales to other countries.

Norway will receive its F-35’s 2017 with initial operational capability in 2019.

11 COMMENTS

    • Did you actually just write that?
      So Norway should buy 3rd gen ground attack aircraft (OK, some of the AV8B2+ have radar and limited A2A).

      Then set up training & logistical pipelines? And according to you invest in a capability uplift that will probably have no export potential- everyone else is going F35 after all, including the US & UK (why the hell would we buy harriers again?)

      Norway already has a capable swing role AC in its F16’s, which the F35’s are going to replace.
      Harriers are decent A2G & CAS, but have limited utility for Norway.

      Are you the best mate of Sharky Ward?

    • Obviously a new generation of Harriers would have new generations of technology n weapons. F16 dosent have VTOL or STOL and the f35 dosent really have a credable VTOL capability. The ground support role of the a10 which the f35 is supposed to replace is a dream.

      The spear head bombing roles of the Tornado, EuroFighter, f117, f15, f16 and f18 wont be replaced by the f35.
      Bringing back Harriers wont work and would be stupid to try, i bet there is a credable goverment plan laid out for reintroduction of Harrier tho… like the Nimrods and Invincable class ‘Helicopter Carriers’.

      The cancelation of Harrier is like the end of Concord, a huge step backwards with no credible or capable replacement.

    • Okay Adam, you have made some points – even if I think they hold no water I will try to comment.

      Firstly we got rid of the Harrier for very good reasons. Sir Humph gives a very good in depth explanation in his blog far better than I ever could (see link): http://thinpinstripedline.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/withdrawing-harrier-taking-right.html

      The Harrier at its best is a 3rd gen A/C with very limited growth potential. Although it fulfilled its role in recent conflicts very well its ability to operate in contested airspace, on a first day of war scenario is nearly nil.

      The F-117 is retired and in deep storage (although the USAF occasionally uses a couple for range calibration purposes amongst other things).
      The F-111, again, retired by all users. But it was a very good penetration bomber once its problems were ironed out.

      The F-15 is an excellent A/C and still has a bit of growth potential that Boeing is trying to leverage into new orders in light of the cost of true 5th Gen A/C.
      However it has the RCS of a barn and isn’t in the same league as the Raptor or Typhoon. Again, its ability to penetrate a competent IAD on the first day of war might be compromised.

      The A-10 and OA-10 are good at CAS but with severe limitations. Its ability to operate in the face of any sort of air defence is shown by the fact that during GW1 & 2 it only operated in kill boxes where there was no known threat (from SAM or AA).
      This can be seen by the stats which show that number of tanks killed/per A/C shot down was far better for other types (eg, F-111) that were operating in less permissive areas.
      If you are only going up against guys armed with Ak-47’s then the A-10 can be useful, but against any other sort of capability then it will stay on the runway.

      TheF16 has a very good short field capabiity utilised by the Norwegians amongst others. It has evolved into a highly capable A/C

    • UK Defence Journal Might I argue in support of Mr Da Cruz, I think for the UK and US where our modern alliance has remained a constant for pretty much 100 years (allied in ww1, through ww2, cold war, etc.) then maybe integration and joint manufacturing might be beneficial so our forces can work in tandem but for independent and countries who have had fluidly changing alliances then perhaps an independent manufacturing capability would be a useful thing to have.

    • Sam, we do retain a good independant manufacturing capability.

      However where we need to produce weapon systems that completely overmatch the opposition then co-operation is usually needed – see F-35 and Typhoon.
      There are occasions where our requirements don’t match that of potential partners and we have to go it alone – but it can end up eye-wateringly expensive. See Nimrod MRA4 for further details.

      If you just want ‘good enough’ or your potential advesaries have limited capabilities then it is fairly easy to churn out a moderately capable weapon platform (although ‘fairly’ would translate to HOW MUCH to most people in these circumstances).

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