Unease as Norway Admits F-35 Bill May Prove Too Large for Armed Forces to Handle

Europe

Oslo’s decision to update its air fleet with F-35 fighter aircraft has been billed the single largest defence procurement in Norwegian history, but has run into one problem after another.

Norwegian Defence Minister Frank Bakke-Jensen’s admission that the bill for the 52 F-35s might be shared with branches outside the defence budget has triggered fears that it may compromise welfare and pensions, the Norwegian daily Klassekampen reported.

As was previously reported by the newspaper Bergens Tidende, the total cost of Norway’s new F-35 fleet could exceed initial calculations by as much as NOK 16 billion ($1.8 billion). This sum includes associated costs, including weapons and the construction of air bases at Ørland and Evenes.

When the Norwegian parliament voted in favour of the aircraft, NOK 11 billion ($1.25 billion) was set aside in a so-called “uncertainty provision” in addition to the stated objective. As long as the extra expenses do not exceed NOK 11 billion, the parliament is not required to re-examine the combat aircraft case.

Runaway F-35 Bill to Impair Norway’s Defence Capacity — Report

However, the parliament did not specify how the potential extra expenses shall be covered. While the tacit understanding is that these costs shall be covered by the armed forces themselves, Frank Bakke-Jensen admitted that money may be taken from other parts of the budget. Despite challenging Bergens Tidende’s

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