On Thursday, September 12 at 18:55 local time three additional F-35 fighter jets landed at Ørland air base.
The planes took off from the aircraft factory at Fort Worth, Texas, in the morning, Norwegian time, and landed at the Orland Air Station on Thursday at 6:55 PM local time.
The three aircraft, AM20, AM21 and AM22, arrived on par with previous flights from Fort Worth, Texas, and were piloted by US-contracted pilots under the auspices of the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA).
“I am very pleased that we have now received three new aircraft. During this year, we will become initially operational with our new fighter aircraft,” says Colonel Lieutenant Ståle Nymoen, commander 332 Squadron.
The Armed Forces now have a total of 15 aircraft in Norway and seven aircraft in the United States. Thus, we have sufficient numbers of aircraft to declare the F-35 system has attained Initial Operation Capability (IOC). That means the fighter planes should be able to operate and deploy elsewhere than their home base. It also means that we are able to carry out missions with regard to episode and crisis management nationally.
Defense plans to report the IOC in 2019.
In 2019, our new five-generation fighter aircraft will initially be declared operational. In 2022, the F-35 will take over the F-16 (QRA) contingency mission, which will then be phased out, and by 2025 we will be fully operational with all fighter aircraft.
“The goal is to be fully operational by 2025. But that assumes that the F-35 is given high priority. It is important to recognize the importance the F-35 has for the entire defense capability,” Nymoen says.
The F-35 aircraft have an extreme sensor capacity, very good situational awareness and the ability to solve many tasks simultaneously. The F-35 is thus the largest and most important acquisition ever made for the Armed Forces.
The fighter jets enable operations throughout the Armed Forces, helping other air, sea, and land forces to make their job safer and more efficient. In addition, the aircraft plays an important role with its information superiority, where they can also pass the information on to other forces on land, sea and air.
“The service life of the F-35 is estimated to be about 40 years. But a lot can happen with the security policy situation at that time. Therefore, the F-35 is designed to be further developed. The world is changing, and we must take that into account,” he adds.
The planes are very difficult to detect by sensors and monitoring systems. This makes it easier to reach the target before it is detected. This is known as the stealth characteristics of the aircraft.