OSLO - Reuters
Norway expects to order 50 F-35 jets. AFP photo
Norway placed its first firm order for Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter last week in a big victory for a program troubled by cost overruns, production delays and order cuts.
Norway formally ordered two aircraft and expects to order another 50 for a total procurement cost of $10 billion, the largest ever public purchase, Minister of Defence Espen Barth Eide told a news conference.
Lockheed is developing three variants of the F-35 for the U.S. military and eight partner countries, including Britain, Canada, Australia, Italy, Turkey, Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands.
The F-35 project’s lifetime cost, including development, production, operating and maintenance costs, and inflation, will reach $1.51 trillion over the next 55 years, the Pentagon said earlier, making it one of the biggest military developments on record.
But costs have risen sharply and production has been delayed, leading countries like the U.S. and Australia to delay orders and nations like Italy and the Netherlands to say they would cut their orders.
The U.S. military plans to buy 2,443 aircraft while the program’s partners plan to buy 697.