Further dramatic F-35 cost increases could force Norway to reconsider programme

If there is a further dramatic cost increase on the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), Norway will reconsider its participation in the programme.
“If there should happen to be something that would really affect the cost curves in the next months, in the next years, all nations including Norway will, of course, reconsider the whole project,” says Norway’s state secretary for Defence, Roger Ingebrigtsen. “I have no reasons to believe that. I was more nervous two years ago than I am today.”
Should something go horribly wrong, however, Norway would be forced to reconsider the programme, he says. But Norway needs the F-35.
“The best we can get is the F-35,” Ingebrigtsen says. There is a reason that a nation like Japan, which has signed onto the programme comparatively late, has selected the stealthy fifth-generation jet for its arsenal, he says. But US support for the F-35 is critical.
“I hope the politicians in the United States stay strong on the F-35 programme,” he says.
The country will buy 52 of the jets. But even with its increasing oil wealth, the Nordic nation cannot afford to pay for all of those aircraft at the same time. So the country will have to stagger its procurements.
“It’s really a huge sum of money,” Ingebrigtsen says. “Therefore we have to spread it out.”
For Norway, the F-35 is its largest ever defence procurement. The runner-up is Lockheed’s own F-16, which Norway bought in 1977, Ingebrigtsen says.

Flightglobal.com By: Dave Majumdar

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