LONDON — Norway is set to take delivery of six Joint Strike Fighters in 2017 and repeat the exercise every year until 2024, by which time it will have acquired its full fleet of 52 aircraft, the government announced in Oslo on April 26.
The government submitted a formal request to the Norwegian Parliament today for approval to purchase six F-35s for delivery in 2017 and also laid out its plans for the country’s biggest ever defense acquisition.
Further purchases remain subject to annual approval by Parliament.
The plan accelerates the initial intended purchase date by one year but stretches the total delivery schedule out to 2024.
The cost of the parliamentary submission totals NOK 12.9 billion (US $2.18 billion) but this also covers training, simulators and other items. The government included a further request for NOK 3 billion for what it terms an “uncertainty allowance.”
A spokesman for the F-35 program office in Oslo said the uncertainty allowance did not relate to questions over the final price of the F-35 but was a financial requirement for all programs put before Parliament for approval.
The total acquisition cost of the 52 aircraft is estimated at NOK 62.6 billion and includes four F-35s that have already been purchased for delivery in 2015 and 2016 for training purposes.
Announcing the move, Norwegian Defense Minister Anne-Grete Strom-Erichsen said that the government had “concluded convincingly that the F-35 is the only aircraft that fulfills our future operational requirements. This continues to be true today and we have no time to lose. Our F-16s remain among the most capable aircraft of their kind, but they are also among the world’s oldest.”
Norway recently received assurances from the JSF Joint Executive Steering Board regarding the integration of the Kongsberg-developed Joint Strike Missile in the Block 4 version of the fighter.
“This is important to us mainly from an operational point of view as we need JSM to fulfill our operational requirements. It is also important from an industrial perspective as we believe the sales potential for the missile is significant with several F-35 users,” said Strom-Erichsen.