Minister of Defense Frank Bakke-Jensen had this post in print in several local newspapers in July 2020.
The Norwegian defense industry is a very important part of our total resources for building preparedness, security and defense capability in the country. The pandemic has also affected this part of Norwegian business and industry.
The defense industry is part of our defense and security policy. An innovative and competent Norwegian defense industry that is adaptation-oriented and competitive in an international market is a strategic resource for the country. Thus, it contributes directly and indirectly to the security of Norway and NATO. The defense industry addresses our needs for preparedness, security of supply, and competence within vital technological competence areas in which we claim world-class.
The Norwegian defense industry has made a significant mark in recent years. We constantly get examples of the Norwegian defense industry being competitive in an international, protectionist market. In June 2020, Kongsberg Defense & Aerospace entered into two new contracts for deliveries to the F-35. The company Kitron also recently entered into an agreement with Northrop Grumman for deliveries to the F-35 program. Norwegian participation in the international fighter program has alone given Norwegian industry contracts worth around NOK 7.5 billion.
Germany and Norway have joined forces to establish a broad-based defense cooperation on e.g. submarines. This also includes the defense industrial area. Norwegian and German industry have found together and established binding cooperation on the development and delivery of combat systems to future submarines. This could give Norwegian industry opportunities in a market beyond the Norwegian-German procurement.
The pandemic has consequences for our large and small defense industry companies. The government has therefore implemented a number of measures. The government is accelerating several projects, including updates of the Skjold-class corvettes and upgrading of CV90 tanks to the Army. Furthermore, we are increasing funding for research and development. NOK 50 million is allocated in connection with forced purchases of materials and services from small and medium-sized Norwegian companies. In addition, there are the general measures aimed at Norwegian business and industry, which also affect the defense industry.
It has been necessary to support the industry in a difficult time. The defense industry provides important, local jobs in many parts of the country, but it also safeguards our national security interests. It is therefore important for both the Government and the Storting to facilitate that we maintain and further develop our defense industrial capacity. We have a good collaboration between the defense sector and the defense industry, and we will take care of this. We concentrate our efforts on some priority technology areas, where we also use our resources on research and development. We place emphasis on following clear principles for our material procurement.
Multinational cooperation is a high priority, and contributes to the realization of complex, high-tech defense capabilities together with close allies. We will continue to contribute to Norwegian industry being able to export and gain market access in other countries, as this is a prerequisite for our own industry's existence, at the same time as we expect the defense industry itself to do what they can to maintain and develop their competitiveness.