Norway's ministry of defence is using a strategic defence review to push for significant funding increases for the country's armed forces, as well as underscore the importance of the F-35 joint strike fighter to the Norwegian Air Force.
Presenting the review last week, Norwegian Chief of Defence Adm. Haakon Bruun-Hanssen reconfirmed Norway's support for the F-35 program, saying he intends to stick to the full 52-aircraft buy. The F-35 provides a number of unique capabilities that no other platform can offer, Bruun-Hanssen said, according to an Oct. 2 statement from the Norwegian F-35 program office.
"We remain dependent on the timely introduction of new capabilities into our Aarmed Fforces, such as the F-35. Only by completing the acquisition of 52 combat aircraft with the Joint Strike Missile, will we be able to provide the full spectrum capabilities that we need to address our future security challenges," Bruun-Hanssen said.
The review will help inform a new long-term plan for the Norwegian armed forces, which will be introduced to parliament in 2016.
If the funding hike is not approved, Bruun-Hanssen warned of "severe cutbacks" across Norway's military.
Norway's first F-35 for Norway, known as AM-1, with the Joint Strike Missile (JSM).
Photo Credit: Lockheed Martin
F-35 cuts may be considered as part of a "worst case scenario," he said, according to the statement.
"My advice to the Ggovernment is to strengthen our ability to conduct surveillance and intelligence; to improve the response times of our forces; to strengthen the manning of key structural elements, while also improving our ability to protect key infrastructure," Bruun-Hanssen said.