|Norway declares F-35 Initial Operational Capability - IOC.|
On November 6th 2019 Norwegian air chief Major General Tonje Skinnarland declared Norway's F-35As operational, after completing a deployment in November meant to validate that they are able to operate the jets away from Norway's home base, Ørland Main Air Station.
Norway becomes the third European country to declare IOC, after the United Kingdom and Italy.
"I would like to congratulate the Norwegian Armed Forces on declaring IOC with the F-35. This is a big day for the entire Armed Forces," says Norway’s Defence Minister Frank Bakke-Jensen.
To conclude the test period, the Norwegian Armed Forces spent several days transferring aircraft and equipment from Ørland Air Station to Rygge Air Station (close to the capital Oslo). Deployment of Rygge's fighter aircraft system includes technicians and other important personnel as well as necessary equipment in order to train and practice operations from there. This was the first time the fighter aircraft were operated from a base other than Ørland Air Station.
Next year Norway’s F-35s will deploy to Iceland to conduct air-policing efforts on behalf of NATO. Finally, by 2022, the Norwegian Air Force will have built up enough F-35s, pilots and maintainers in the country to let the F-35 take over the “quick reaction alert” mission, which calls for operators to stand on a 24/7 alert and scramble, if needed, to intercept aircraft flying near Norwegian airspace. These F-35s will be ready for air-policing in Evenes, Northern Norway.
Source: Norwegian Ministry of Defense