Mar. 23, 2012 By MARCUS WEISGERBER defensenews.com
Norway is considering speeding up buys of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, Oslo’s Ministry of Defense has announced.
In a white paper posted on the ministry’s website on March 23, Norway reaffirms its plans to purchase 52 stealthy jets that will replace the Royal Norwegian Air Force’s F-16 fighters.
Oslo may move up procurement of its initial training aircraft from 2016 to 2015, according to a statement about the white paper. The government is also looking at moving up procurement of its operational F-35 aircraft.
“A new start date of 2017 is being considered while the final procurement year may be extended to 2023 or 2024,” the statement notes.
Norway’s parliament must approve the aircraft buys each year.
“We remain confident that the F-35 represents the best capability for the best value possible,” Norwegian Defense Minister Espen Barth Eide said in the statement. “The purpose of the adjusted procurement plan is to give the Norwegian Government greater financial freedom of maneuver during the years of the main procurement by spreading out the cost more evenly. We believe this new schedule better balances this concern with the introduction of a vital new capability to the Norwegian Armed Forces.”