Norway is celebrating its 73rd Anniversary of Royal Norwegian Air Force this Friday the 10th. The same day it will ceremonially accept the three F-35 fighter jets delivered from Lockheed Martin’s Fort Worth Facility. All the three jets will be stationed at Orland Air Force Station.
Norway has already received seven F-35A joint strike fighters. Two were received in 2015. Another two in 2016. Further three in early 2017. All these fighters are stationed in Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, for training. But the current three new are the first F-35s to be permanently based in Norway.
Norway intends to replace its current inventory of 56 F-16 Fighting Falcons, with 52 F-35A conventional takeoff and landing jets. The F-16s will be phased out as early as 2021. From 2018 to 2024, the country will accept six joint strike fighters a year.
Maj. Gen. Morten Klever, the F-35 program director for Norway’s Ministry of Defence, called the event a “major step towards increased operational capability for the future.” Royal Norwegian Air Force looks forward to using the aircraft to train its pilots.