On September 27, three more Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II fifth-generation multi-role stealth fighters arrived in Norway – increasing the Royal Norwegian Air Force’s (RNoAF’s) fleet to 28 aircraft.
The three aircraft – serials 5387 (c/n AM-26), 5388 (c/n AM-27) and 5389 (c/n AM-28) – arrived at Ørland air base in Norway’s Trøndelag region at 1840hrs (local time), after flying from Fort Worth, Texas. In total, 28 F-35As have been delivered to the RNoAF, with 21 operating in Norway and seven being used for personnel training at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona.
Lt Col Tron Strand, the new commander of 322 Squadron, said: “It is always great to receive new aircraft… We are already focusing on training towards full operational capability in 2025, and on the way there we have a number of sub-goals that require the supply of new aircraft to go as planned.”
Norway intends to procure a total of 52 examples of the conventional take-off and landing (CTOL)-configured F-35A Lightning II. In RNoAF service, the platform will carry out a number of air, land and sea operations in support of Norwegian and allied forces.
The type achieved its initial operational capability on November 6, 2019. It completed its first deployment earlier this year in support of NATO’s Icelandic Air Policing mission and it is scheduled to conduct a similar deployment in 2021. The F-35A will take over Norway’s domestic quick reaction alert (QRA) mission from 2022, when the air arm begins to phase the Lockheed Martin F-16AM/BM (MLU) Fighting Falcon out of operational service.