September 27, three new F-35 fighter jets landed in Norway. In total, the Royal Norwegian Air Force (RNoAF; Luftforsvaret) has now received 28 aircraft. The planes took off from Fort Worth, Texas, and landed late at night Norwegian time 18:40. The Air Force has so far received 21 aircraft in Norway and 7 aircraft in the United States used for training. The Air Force is well underway with testing and training at Ørland Airport and training of personnel at Luke Air Force base.
The F-35 will carry out operations with the Royal Norwegian Air Force and allied forces both on land, at sea and in the air. In 2020, the F-35 completed its first operational mission in Iceland, Iceland Air Policing, as an integral part of NATO’s airspace control. A similar assignment will be carried out in 2021. As early as 2022, the F-35 will take over the QRA contingency from Evenes when the F-16 aircraft are phased out. In the period up to 2025, the F-35 will focus on joint training and integration with both its own and allied forces.
On November 6th 2019 Norwegian air chief Major General Tonje Skinnarland declared Norway’s F-35As operational, after completing a deployment in November meant to validate that they are able to operate the jets away from Norway’s home base, Ørland Main Air Station. Norway becomes the third European country to declare IOC, after the United Kingdom and Italy. Over the last two years, the Norwegian Air Force has conducted intensive operational testing and evaluation (OT&E) of special Norwegian conditions such as winter operations.
The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is an American family of single-seat, single-engine, all-weather stealth multirole combat aircraft that is intended to perform both air superiority and strike missions. It is also able to provide electronic warfare and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities. Its development is principally funded by the United States, with additional funding from program partner countries from NATO and close U.S. allies, including the United Kingdom, Italy, Australia, Canada, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, and formerly Turkey.