Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace announced on 25 June that it is building a new depot in Norway to service the F-35 fleet, with an investment estimated at NKr 500m ($46.6m), scheduled to be completed in the the second half of 2025.
Kongsberg’s new facility will not only serve their own F-35s, but also provide maintenance services for F-35s belonging to other nations.
The new depot at Rygge will be part of the global maintenance solution to increase the operational availability of the F-35 fleet, where Kongsberg will carry out future upgrades, modifications and improvements to the aircraft through its lifetime. The the main base in Ørland will continue to be the site for user maintenance by the Air Force, while heavy maintenance is conducted at the regional depot in Cameri, Italy.
Kongsberg Aviation Maintenance Services (KAMS) originally signed a contract with Pratt & Whitney for a F-35 fighter aircraft engine maintenance facility at Rygge in Norway in 2020, one of the five such facilities to be developed worldwide for the F135 engine, manufactured by Pratt & Whitney, that powers the F-35 Lightning II fighter aircraft. Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace owns 50.1% of the shares in KAMS, while the remaining is with Patria of Finland.
F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter is a stealthy, supersonic multirole fighter developed by Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company for the US Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps and programme partners from the Nato, and US allies.
According to Eirik Lie, the President of Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace, the establishment of a maintenance depot in Norway is crucial in retaining and advancing the expertise and capacity required to conduct maintenance and upgrades of Norwegian fighter aircraft, in line with the priorities and needs of the Norwegian Armed Forces.
The new investment not only protects the valuable expertise accumulated over many years but also bolsters the contractor’s standing as a provider of maintenance services in the defence industry, aligning with Kongsberg’s overall strategy.