Norwegian F-35 - Investment Remains Within Cost Framework
The Ministry of Defence is now in the final stages of preparing an updated analysis of the F35 investment. We can already state that the total investment will be within the limits we have agreed with the Storting [Parliament—Ed.], said State Secretary Ingebrigtsen.
A meeting between the Secretary of State and Lockheed Martin vice president Tom Burbage on Tuesday, February 14, confirmed this picture. Despite changes in the American order, the Norwegian cost framework remains in force.
The Government will provide a comprehensive account of this when the long-term plan is submitted to Parliament.
“Parliament will recognize the cost figures when the government releases the fighter procurement portion of the new, long-term defense plan in the spring,” says State Secretary Roger Ingebrigtsen.
Combat aircraft acquisition is the greatest single acquisition planned by the MoD. The aircraft is a very significant capacity in the Norwegian military. They will replace the F16 fleet which is approaching the end of its service life.
State Secretary Roger Ingebrigtsen is satisfied by the development of the program, which was reviewed in the meeting with Vice President Tom Burbage of Lockheed Martin and submits the following points:
• Testing and production of the aircraft is on schedule.
• Lockheed Martin to deliver the aircraft in combat ready condition in 2018 and the price will be within the calculations that Norway has assumed.
• As the program has progressed, the uncertainty has been reduced, so that it is now safer to set the investment framework and life cycle cost.
• The Defence Minister will present detailed calculations for these in conjunction with the presentation of new long-term plan for the military to Parliament in March 2012.
Since 2008, the MoD has been working continuously to improve the basis for the procurement decision. An important part of this work has concentrated on how to find the best and most effective organization of the combat aircraft weapon system, set against the mission and additional requirements.
This work has resulted in a number of improved solutions and new assumptions.
It is staggering to think that, after a single meeting with Lockheed’s Tom Burbage, undersecretary Ingebrigtsen is publicly reporting that “testing and production of the aircraft is on schedule.”
It is not clear which schedule he is referring to, but it certainly isn’t the Pentagon’s, which just on Feb. 13 restructured the program for the third time, notably delaying orders for 179 aircraft.
Lockheed Martin Confirms That Aircraft That Norway Plans to Order Will Be Completed on Time
The CEO of F-35 program, Tom Burbage, assured Secretary of State Roger Ingebrigtsen that the program is progressing well, and that they are ahead of expectations in terms of flight tests.
The adjustments in the U.S. defense budget put great emphasis on ensuring the successful development and testing of the aircraft well before Norway is planning to carry out their main purchase.
“Norway has clear expectations of an industrial return in connection with the purchase of American fighter planes. So far, we are not there yet, but Tom Burbage presented some good news today,” said State Secretary Ingebrigtsen.
New opportunities for additional work worth about 1.5 billion Norwegian kroner, which may involve both Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace and AIM Norway, were presented. Norwegian industry was able to discuss the further development of industrial cooperation in the F-35.
Executive Directors Harald Ånnestad (Kongsberg Defence Systems) and Edgar Fossheim (Nammo) emphasized the importance of ensuring Norwegian-developed systems such as the Joint Strike Missile and APEX ammunition is available for all F-35 partner countries.
“It is clearly important for jobs in Kongsberg, Raufoss, Arendal and Kjeller that we get a good joint venture with Lockheed Martin,” said State Secretary Roger Ingebrigtsen.
Lockheed Martin confirmed that they will continue the ongoing efforts to further improve the industrial plan. Tom Burbage stressed that the company has a long-term horizon for the involvement of Norwegian industry in the aircraft’s production, covering the next 25 or 30 years.
Industrial cooperation among partner nations have from the beginning been based on the principle of "best value" in which industry and research and development institutes in various countries compete for contracts in the project.
Through Norwegian participation in the development phase, the Norwegian industry has been able to enter into production-related contracts with a value of about 2 billion NOK ($346 million U.S.) even before Norway has signed a contract for the purchase of aircraft.
In total, Lockheed Martin and engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney have presented industrial opportunities worth a total of $6 billion US.
During the visit, Lockheed Martin and AIM Norway signed an MoU to develop cooperation between the two companies.
Source: Norwegian Ministry of Defence; issued Feb. 15, 2012 (translation by defense-aerospace.com)
Photo: Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II (Photo by © xairforces.net 2012)