Norway rolls out its first F-35A Lightning II aircraft
Norway has officially rolled out its first F-35A Lightning II for the Norwegian Armed Forces at Lockheed Martin's F-35 production facility in Fort Worth, Texas.
The first F-35 is destined for Luke Air Force Base in US and the aircraft will now take part in the training of Norwegian and partner pilots. Norway is planning to acquire up to 52 F-35As by 2025.
Norwegian Defence Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide said: "Our new combat aircraft will provide the Armed Forces with a number of new capabilities that we have never had before.
"In particular, the F-35 when equipped with the Norwegian Joint Strike Missile will ensure that we will be able to target and defeat even well defended targets at extended distances with very high precision."
Currently, Norway has ten aircraft in various stages of production and the initial aircraft will be used for training at Luke Air Force Base.
The country is expected to receive the first F-35 in 2017 and will begin preparations for initial operating capability in 2019.
Lockheed Martin chairman, president and CEO Marillyn Hewson said: "I'm confident the F-35 will provide the strength that is needed, and is a unique solution for Norway's high north threats.
"It is the only aircraft with adequate range, persistence, sensors and advanced communications to guarantee surveillance and defence of the high north against surface and airborne threats."
The F-35 Lightning II is a ffth Generation fighter, featuring advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations and advanced sustainment.
Image: Norwegian Defence Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide with the Norwegian Armed Force's first F-35A Lightning II, known as AM-1. Photo: courtesy of Lockheed Martin photo.