June 16, 2006 (by Jeff Hollenbeck) - Will Norway buy 48 new F-35 Joint Strike Fighters in 2008? Well, that depends on who you ask.
AA-1 is being weighed (20,975 lbs.) here on Jan 8th 2006, right before it is moved to its new location in preparation for control surface testing and engine fit checks.
Dagens Industri, a Swedish newspaper, cited Pentagon spokesperson Kathy Crawford in an article early on Friday reporting that Norway
had signed a letter of intent to purchase F-35s.
A conflicting story emerged later on Friday when a spokesman for the Norwegian Devense Minsitry denied that any letter of intent had been signed in an interview with Dow Jones Newswires later on Friday.
Norway is still planning to purchase 48 warplanes sometime in or around 2008. The contenders for the contract which may be worth up to $5 billion include the Lockheed Martin F-35, Eurofighter Typhoon, Saab Gripen and the Dassault Rafale. With such conflicting reports, it's still impossible to predict what will happen in the future for the Norweigian Air Force.
The F-35 is slated to replace several different aircraft in the U.S. Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps and is also expected to be the fighter and attack jet of choice for several different nations around the world. The first prototype aircraft, AA-1, has already passed its fuel system and ground vibration tests early and is expected to celebrate its first flight sometime this fall.