Aerial Warfare

Royal Norwegian Air Force Uses Bardufoss Mountain Air Station for F-35 Fighters

164
×

Royal Norwegian Air Force Uses Bardufoss Mountain Air Station for F-35 Fighters

Share this article
Royal Norwegian Air Force Uses Bardufoss Mountain Air Station for F-35 Fighters
Royal Norwegian Air Force Uses Bardufoss Mountain Air Station for F-35 Fighters

The Royal Norwegian Air Force continues to further develop national operational concepts increasing combat aircraft survivability as in mid-June, F-35 fighter aircraft landed at Bardufoss Air Station taking back hangars and facilities inside the mountain that had been deactivated for 40 years. The natural features of Bardufoss Air Station provide excellent protection for combat aircraft. The mountain hangar has received structural and equipment upgrades to increase its use for air operations. In the long term, this may lead to increased national and Allied fighter aircraft activity in the region of Northern Norway around the air station. Agile Combat Employment or ACE is NATO’s concept to strengthen the resilience and survivability of Allied Air operations. It combines already existing air bases with temporary operational bases to position capabilities and generate combat air power through the dispersal of resources.

“Bardufoss Air Station plays an important role in the further development of Norwegian, Nordic and Allied Air Power. NATO is very focused on the Nations’ ability to disperse and quickly move air forces through the development of the Agile Combat Employment or ACE concept,” said Brigadier Tron Strand, head of the Joint Air Operations Centre (JAOC).

“Bardufoss is also used as a civilian airport; is well suited to take a prominent role in the operational distribution concept. The whole idea of dispersal of capabilities is to be able to use all available airports throughout the Nordic region; at Bardufoss, due to the existing infrastructure, we will also be able to play a larger role in an initial mobilization phase,” said Colonel Eirik Stueland, commander of 131 Air Wing.

After 40 years, military aircraft  are back to Bardufoss Air Station in Northern Norway to operate out hangars inside a mountain. Photo courtesy Royal Norwegian Air Force.
After 40 years, military aircraft are back to Bardufoss Air Station in Northern Norway to operate out hangars inside a mountain. Photo courtesy Royal Norwegian Air Force. (Photo by Norwegian Air Force)

“The deteriorating security policy situation and the war in Ukraine mean that the Air Force must become sharper. Powerful stealth fighters are not enough. In a war situation, the planes are vulnerable on the ground. On the one hand we are significantly increasing air defence for Evenes and Ørland Air Base – this is part of our long-term planning. On the other, the Air Force must be able to disperse its combat aircraft and operate out of several other airports and air stations, both in Norway and the Nordic countries if a crisis or war so requires. This means that we must use available mountain facilities for protection. Within the framework of Norway’s national operational distribution concept, we are using the entire air station at Bardufoss. First and foremost, this is about being prepared and in the long term this may involve more national and Allied activity here,” Brigadier General Strand explained.

Bardufoss Air Station (Bardufoss flystasjon) is a military air station located at Bardufoss in Målselv Municipality in Troms county in Northern Norway. It is the location of the Royal Norwegian Air Force (RNoAF) 139 Air Wing and two helicopter squadrons; the 337 Squadron operating Lynx MK 86 for the Norwegian Coast Guard and the 339 Squadron equipped with Bell 412SPs. The military air station opened in 1938; it is Norway’s oldest operating air station and comes under the Norwegian Air Force’s 131 Air Wing. It is also the base for the RNoAF Flight Training School. In addition, helicopter Squadron no. 334 is currently under establishment as it will be operating NH90 NFH helicopters. The air station is co-located on the same site as the commercial Bardufoss Airport.

A tractor moves a Royal Norwegian Air Force F-35 through a mountain hangar at Bardufoss Air Station.
A tractor moves a Royal Norwegian Air Force F-35 through a mountain hangar at Bardufoss Air Station. (Photo by Norwegian Air Force)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *