Why should Norway buy the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II? — We have enough money, but three factors speak against this deal. We do not know when the planes can be delivered, they still have technical issues to solve and, of all things, nobody has any idea about what the cost will be.
In addition we have the fact that in this country we cannot just buy a plane. It has to be custom made for our topography and weather. The F-16s we have are nowhere near what, for example, the US version of them is.
Then there are the promises of all the contracts the Norwegian industry will get. Yes, we are supposed to manufacture the missiles for the F-35 (Norwegian Naval Strike Missile), but it will only create around 400 jobs.
I am old enough to remember when we bought the F-16s. Same story – the promised contracts for the Norwegian high tech industry never materialized.
So, why are we so naive and loyal to the US? Yes, we are one of America’s oldest and most loyal allies, but this transaction seems quite unwise. The number of unknown variables is just too many.
I do not have the answer. I do not understand my own Government. There has of course been a heated debate in Norway about this issue, and this year the government is supposed to make the final decision. For an extensive overview of events: Norway and the F-35
There are several alternatives that are fully developed and operational, and they are much more inexpensive both to buy, but not the least, to operate. Two that I can mention are the Eurofighter and the Jas Gripen.
Several of the original group of countries that helped with the funding of this project (Britain, Australia, Turkey, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Italy and the Netherlands), have sent strong signals that they may cancel or at least reduce the order. An example is Japan (Japan cancelling order?) and Canada, US and Australia (Cancelling order?)
I could go on and write about the F-22 and it’s demise and the Russians developing their Sukhoi PAK FA and the Chinese with their Chengdu J-20 or Snow Owl Jet.
But that is not my point. I am just wondering why so many countries are willing to spend so much money on this very shaky project called F-35.