Norway has declared initial operational readiness for its F-35 fighter aircraft.
In a ceremony at Rygge Air Defence Base last week, Major General Skinnarland underlined that this declaration represents a milestone in the process of integrating the fifth generation aircraft into the Norwegian Air Force. The Norwegian Defence Minister, Frank Bakke-Jensen, congratulated the country’s air force on achieving this important operational capability.
In November 2017, the first Norwegian F-35 aircraft landed in Norway. Today the Norwegian Air Force has 15 fighter aircraft in the country and another seven in the United States; all aircraft are undergoing thorough tests, flights and evaluations to ensure they are mission-ready.
According to NATO:
“During the first quarter of 2020, Norwegian F-35 fighter aircraft will be launching their first NATO peacetime mission safeguarding Icelandic airspace out of Keflavik Air Base. This deployment will mark another test for the modern fighter aircraft in an Alliance context. The first-ever participation of F-35 in a NATO mission occurred in the fall of 2019, when Italy deployed the platform to Iceland.”
The Norwegian Air Force F-35 fleet will operate from three bases in Norway: Ørland as the main base, Evenes as the advanced base in the north, and Rygge Air Defence Base as the operational base in the south.