Sunday, April 28, 2013

Norway to Acquire Next 6 F-35 Fighter Aircraft But Will Slow Acquisition Schedule

The Norwegian Defense Ministry has requested the parliament of Norway to approve the purchase of six F-35A Lightning II fighter aircraft. The jets are to be delivered starting in 2017 or one year earlier than previously planned.

It has already ordered the first four F-35 in June 2012 and another 48 are to be purchased for a total of 52. The first four will stay in the United States for training and the next six will go to Norway.

Two F-35 fighter aircraft will be delivered in 2015 and another two in 2016. The F-35A variant ordered by Norway is the Conventional Take-Off and Landing (CTOL) variant.

Norway has decided to alter the time frame for the acquisition of the 48 F-35. The jets are now to be delivered over eight years, from 2017 to 2024, instead of the four years between 2018 and 2021.

Six jets will enter service over eight years instead of 12 over four years. The total cost is estimated at 62.6 billion Norwegian Crowns or $10.65 billion. Stretching out the time schedule will reduce the burden on the annual defense budget.

Despite recent problems with the F-35 program, Norway has a strong incentive to stick with the F-35. Norway's Kongsberg is currently developing the Joint Strike Missile (JSM), which is specifically designed to be carried internally by the F-35.

Based on the stealthy, sea-skimming, subsonic Naval Strike Missile, the JSM offers several improvements, including:
  • Fits inside the F-35
  • Extended range to about 280 km
  • Addition of a two-way data link
The missile is guided by a combined Imaging Infrared / GPS and can be used against both land and sea targets.

Norway considers the JSM to have excellent export potential due to its compatibility with the F-35, which is expected to be acquired in large numbers by many countries.

No comments:

Post a Comment