In a week where Deputy Defence Minister Roger Ingebrigtsen travels to Edwards Air Force base, California, and JSF programme head Vice-Admiral David Venle visits Norway, politicians are divided on how Norway should pay for them.
Tri-partite Coalition Party the Socialist Left (SV) has called for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter price not to exceed the defence budget of 40 billion kroner. Labour (Ap) wishes to allocate extra money, whilst the Centre Party (Sp) will not comment.
Bård Vegar Solhjell, SV’s parliamentary leader, believes that an aging population, climate and education are more important.
He told Aftenposten, “Few would argue that military threats are among our most important challenges. We cannot live with the fact that the armed forces and national insurance being the only major initiatives forward, without caring about education and the climate.”
Decisions must be made on the F-35 project before Easter, including funding. The purchase price is estimated to be approximately 37.5 billion for now.
There is also still no solution to where the new base will be located. One area that has been suggested is Ørland, but locals are still unsure of what effect the planes will have on their lives.
The noise from the F-35’s is far greater than that of the current F-16’s and decisions must be made on how to limit this.
Solhjell does not see how cutting the defence budget would cause a problem, citing other countries as examples.
“Countries around us are making significant defence cuts. It is therefore likely there will be significant military downsizing. There is no reason why Norway should work against this trend with unilateral rearmament.”