National Armaments Director Leif Lindbäck Thursday signed documents committing Norway to the next phase of the of the United States Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Project. The Norwegian Parliament has decided to contribute $125m to the System Development and Demonstration phase.
- This is a strategic decision for both the Norwegian Ministry of Defence and Norwegian industry, Mr. Lindbäck said in a comment.
He stressed during the Q&A session following the signing of the agreement that Norway is especially interested in the involvement of Norwegian industry, although he could not at this time specify what parts of the JSF would be produced or developed in Norway.
His American counterpart, Under Secretary of Decense for Aquisition, Technology, and Logistics Mr. E.C. "Pete" Aldridge Jr, welcomed Norway as the fifth country to partake in the project.
- This is another good day for the JSF and for the Norwegian-US relationship. It is also an ample opportunity for Norwegian industry to take part, he said.
No final decision
Norway has been an active member of this program since 1996. This does not however determine which type of jet fighters that will replace the now existing F-16. The Government is therefore ensuring that Norway can continue to follow closely the development of alternative candidates, including Eurofighter and Rafale.
The general consensus amongst the members of Parliament, Stortinget, is that extending the participation in JFS is the best option for Norway. It will prepare Norway for future needs and at the same time be cost effective. It will also promote cooperation with other allied nations in international operations.
Norway has over a long period of time developed a close relationship with allied countries such as Denmark and the Netherlands. The government in these two NATO countries have also extended their participation with JSF.
No final decision as to the choice of aircraft to replace the F-16 will be taken before about 2008. The Government is therefore making the preparations necessary to allow the further development of the alternative candidates to be followed closely and to provide for a continuing dialogue with the Eurofighter project as well as with the French government and French industry regarding Rafale.
The decision signals the Governments intention to contribute up to $120 million to extend Norwegian participation in the JFS over a ten-year period starting this year. Participation in the JFS program will in turn give Norwegian industries an important role in the development process. This would enable Norwegian industry to play an integral role globally.
For more information please contact Martin Lohne, press spokesperson, Ministry of Defence, telephone +47 23092310