The Norwegian parliament has approved the funding of four Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II training jets to begin bridging the gap in the nation’s future air-combat capability requirements.

Norway plans to acquire 48 F-35s, with the first jets being delivered in 2016.

The F-35s will ensure Norway’s national security and will replace ageing F-16 fighter jets, due to be phased out by 2023.

The fifth generation multi-role, stealth fighter, being developed and funded by nine partner countries, is designed to conduct air-to-air and air-to-ground operations.

The aircraft features comprehensive and powerful avionics and is being developed along with Northrop Grumman, BAE Systems and Pratt & Whitney.