Ceremonies were held today at the Lockheed Martin F-35 production facility celebrating the rollout of the first F-35A Lightning II for the Norwegian Armed Forces.
The event marked an important production milestone for the future of Norway’s national defense.
“We all know that the F-35 is not simply another fighter. We know that it is much more,” said Her Excellency Ine Eriksen Soreide, Norwegian Minister of Defence. “The F-35 provides us a capability we’ve never had before. It’s by far the most advanced fighter ever made. Today we are indeed turning the future into the present. The F-35 represents a new way of thinking, a new way of operating, which will benefit the entire Norwegian Armed Forces.”
The Honorable Frank Kendall, U.S. Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology & Logistics, pointed to the Norway partnership as crucial to the F-35 program.
“We are here because of the persistence, not just of the design team and the military, but also of the political leaders who have been involved… and also, in this case, of the Norwegian people,” said Kendall. “I want to thank the Norwegian people for their persistence and their consistent support for this program.”
Joining the Minister and Secretary Kendall at the ceremony were His Excellency Kare R. Aas, Norway Ambassador; Admiral Haakon Bruun-Hanssen, Chief of Defence, Norwegian Armed Forces; Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan, F-35 Program Executive Officer, and Ms. Marillyn Hewson, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Lockheed Martin Corporation.
The 5th Generation F-35As will transition the Norwegian Armed Forces into a next generation net-centric fighter force capable of assuring the nation’s territorial integrity and national security.
“I’m confident the F-35 will provide the strength that is needed, and is a unique solution for Norway’s high north threats,” said Hewson. “It is the only aircraft with adequate range, persistence, sensors and advanced communications to guarantee surveillance and defense of the high north against surface and airborne threats. This capability would not be possible without the unwavering support of the Norwegian government and the innovative and dependable contributions of Norwegian industry.”
The F-35 Lightning II aircraft provides the Norwegian industry with high technology work, ensuring the future health, competitiveness and viability of the defense industry in Norway. Work on the F-35 program has provided Norwegian industry with more than $450 million in contracts to date, along with opportunities for additional work over the life of the program.
AM-1 and Norway’s second jet, known as AM-2, are scheduled to be delivered to the Royal Norwegian Air Force later this year, and will be based at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, where they will be used for Norwegian and partner country pilot training.
The F-35 Lightning II is a 5th Generation fighter, combining advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations and advanced sustainment. Three distinct variants of the F-35 will replace the A-10 and F-16 for the U.S. Air Force, the F/A-18 for the U.S. Navy, the F/A-18 and AV8-B Harrier for the U.S. Marine Corps, and a variety of fighters for at least 10 other countries.