Norway signs arms contract with US to buy missiles for F-35s

TEHRAN, Nov. 16 (MNA) – The Norwegian Armed Forces have signed a landmark agreement with the US for the purchase of AMRAAM-D air-to-air missiles to the tune of NOK 5 billion ($500 million).

The missiles will be mainly used to equip Norway’s new fleet of F-35 fighters.

Not only is it the single largest procurement of arms for the Norwegian Armed Forces ever, but the Norwegian Ministry of Defense also said, the medium-range AMRAAM-D is expected to be the main weapon of the country’s combat aircraft for decades to come, Sputnik reported.

“We are very pleased that Norway now also has access to such advanced missiles”, Defense Minister Bjørn Arild Gram said in a press release.

Eivind Byre, lieutenant colonel and head of Air Force communications, told Norwegian media that the F-35 remains the most powerful warplane of the Norwegian Armed Forces and the procurement will further strengthen operational capability.

According to the Defense Ministry, the procurement will “unleash” the full potential of the F-35 platform, which, it ventured, was “particularly important in light of the current security policy situation.”

Until now, the weapon has only been exported to close US allies such as Canada, Australia, and the UK.

AMRAAM-D is an upgraded version of the missile previously used by both the F-16 and the NASAMS air defense system. It is equipped with a more powerful engine, better control systems, and data links.

According to Norwegian Defense Materiel Agency director Gro Jære, given the major improvement in sensors and range, the weapon will be effective against drones, cruise missiles, and other combat aircraft.

In connection with the contract, an industrial cooperation agreement was also signed with the missile manufacturer Raytheon, which already collaborates with several Norwegian defense companies. Defense Minister Arild Gram described this as a method of “creating opportunities for Norwegian industry” and “ensuring value creation”.

Previously, Norway bought 52 F-35s in order to replace its aging fleet of F-16s and expects them to become fully operational by 2025. Numerous members of the top brass and officials representing consecutive governments have referred to the F-35s as the new backbone of the Norwegian military.

However, this prized acquisition has run into numerous problems, ranging from inflated costs to excessive noise levels, resulting in hundreds of complaints and even lawsuits from Norwegians living close to the fighter base at Ørlandet. Remarkably, similar noise issues arose in the fellow Nordic country of Denmark, which bought 27 F-35s.

ZZ/PR

News Code 193733

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