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 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.

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Adam Ellerington

They should buy some Harriers from the U.S n the old tooling from us and make SuperHarriers, it will be cheaper n faster, then sell them back to us and America.

Jason Owens

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… Read more »

UK Defence Journal

Bad idea.

Adam Ellerington

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… Read more »

UK Defence Journal

What a stupid post.

Jason Owens

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): 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… Read more »

Clovis Da Cruz

Countries should independently research and manufacture their own weapons than be reliant on external countries / suppliers.

UK Defence Journal

No, that’s a poor idea.

Sam Lee

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.

Jason Owens

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… Read more »

Kevin Richards

getting more & more like tie-fighters 😀