In a ceremony at Rygge Air Defence Base on Nov. 6, 2019, Major General Skinnarland underlined that this declaration represents a milestone in the process of integrating the fifth generation aircraft into the Norwegian Air Force. The Norwegian Defence Minister, Frank Bakke-Jensen, congratulated the country’s air force on achieving this important operational capability.
This milestone is the result of formidable work over many years in large parts of the defence sector
In November 2017, the first Norwegian F-35 aircraft landed in Norway. Today the Air Force has 15 fighter aircraft in the country and another seven in the United States; all aircraft are undergoing thorough tests, flights and evaluations to ensure they are mission-ready.
The F-35 will take over 24/7 national and NATO Air Policing missions in 2022 from the F-16 which have accomplished the mission of safeguarding the skies over Norway and then Allies for forty years. By 2025, the F-35 fighter aircraft are to be fully operational.
The Norwegian Air Force F-35 will operate from three bases in Norway: Ørland as the main base, Evenes as the advanced base in the north, and Rygge Air Defence Base as the operational base in the south.
During the first quarter of 2020, Norwegian F-35 fighter aircraft will be launching their first NATO peacetime mission safeguarding Icelandic airspace out of Keflavik Air Base. This deployment will mark another test for the modern fighter aircraft in an Alliance context. The first-ever participation of F-35 in a NATO mission occurred in the fall of 2019, when Italy deployed the platform to Iceland.
Within the Alliance, Allied Air Command at Ramstein, Germany is responsible for coordinating the integration of modern aircraft with existing aircraft fleets. Multi-role air versatility and performance, enhanced situational awareness and integration capabilities of modern aircraft increase efficiency and effectiveness of Allied air operations protecting sovereign territories and ensuring security of Alliance populations.