Norway’s F-35s officially take QRA role from the F-16

The Royal Norwegian Air Force (RNoAF) F-35A Lightning IIs officially took the role providing Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) from the F-16AM/BM (MLU) Fighting Falcon fleet after 42 years of service to NATO and Norway on January 6.

A formal transfer of authority from F-16 to F-35 took place at Evenes Air Base, Northern Norway, and is a historic milestone for Norway’s Armed Forces.

F-35A Lightning
A RNoAF F-35A Lightning II under shelter during a snow storm. Torbjørn Kjosvold/ Norwegian Armed Forces

Maj Gen Rolf Folland, Chief of the RNoAF said:"F-35 has now received the baton from F-16, continuing to keep a constant guard. I sense a great pride today. The introduction of the new fighter jets has been a great success, thanks to our passionate and talented personnel and partners.”

For the past four decades, Norway's F-16s have carried out QRA on behalf of NATO from Bodø Air Base in northern Norway, which is due to close after the F-16 fleet is withdrawn from service. Going forward, the F-35s will operate from Evenes Air Base, further up North. Evenes is currently receiving infrastructure construction to host the fifth generation F-35s and the fleet of P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft.