The three new F-35A multi-role aircraft of the Royal Norwegian Air Force (RoNAF) landed at Orland Air Force Station in central Norway on 26 May after more than 10 hours in the air from the United States.
“The three newest editions to Norways increasing fleet of F-35 fighter aircraft arrived at Orland main airstation tonight at 21:57 local time,” it said in a statement. “In a few years, in 2025, the F-35s will reach full operational capability.”
Norway is the fourth country after the United States, Israel and Italy to receive the F-35 stealth fighters.
According to Lockheed Martin, Norway joined the F-35 program as a partner in the System Development and Demonstration phase. In November 2008, the Norwegian government selected the F-35 as the replacement for the F-16 fleet. And in September 2015, the first F-35A was unveiled before Norwegian and U.S. government officials and Lockheed Martin leadership at a formal ceremony at the Lockheed Martin production facility in Fort Worth, Texas. See the highlights from that ceremony.
The first two jets for Norway delivered to Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, in late 2015, where they are being used for pilot training.
Norway received its first F-35s three years ago. The country currently has 15 of the fifth-generation stealth fighters, but it has plans to expand its fleet to 52 by 2025, at which point all Norway’s F-16s will be retired.
The three newest editions to Norways increasing fleet of F-35 fighter aircraft arrived at Ørland main airstation tonight at 21:57 local time. In a few years, in 2025, the F-35s will reach full operational capability. pic.twitter.com/7BtKvQQhqK
— Luftforsvaret (@Luftforsvaret) May 26, 2020
The F-35 program has long been plagued by cost overruns, delays and global parts shortages. However, costs are being brought down, and the aircraft will be the most advanced in the world, U.S. officials have said.
Besides the United States, 11 other nations are buying the planes.