April 7, 1998 (by Lieven Dewitte) - Norway's Defense Ministry has published a plan to reduce the airforce structure from three main airbases and 14 smaller bases to four main airbases and eight deployment bases.
At present the three main air-bases are Rygge in south Norway
, Orland in central Norway and Bod in the north.
They will continue to operate their F-16 squadrons. Bardufoss, also in north Norway, will be upgraded to a main airbase, but will operate combat aircraft only during exercises. Andya in the north and Gardermoen in the south will continue their present operations, but their status will be changed to deployment bases. Torp in south Norway, Sola and Flesland in the southwest, Vrnes in central Norway and Evenes and Langnes in the north will become deployment baseswith sharply reduced peacetime manning.
Five airbases will be shut down, but one of these, Banak in Finnmark, relatively close to the Russian border, will be operationally and administratively merged with Bod. The two F-16 units (331 and 334 Sqns) which are presently run as one large squadron, due to lack of personnel, will remain at Bod. Norway's Immediate Reaction Force F-16 unit, 338 Sqn, will remain at Orland, while the Operational Conversion Unit, 332 Sqn, and 336 Sqn, which presently operates F-5A/Bs, will continue to operate out of Rygge. All medium-levelF-16 maintenance will, however, be relocated to Bod from the year 2000.
The six C-l30H transports of 335 Sqn, will remain at Gardermoen, where the air force deployment base will be co-located with Norway's new civilian international airport, due to open in October. The four P-3Cs and two P-3Nsof 333 Sqn will continue to operate out of Andya. The command and control center in north Norway, at Reitan near Bod, will be shut down. All squadrons, together with support, ground-to-air defense and base defense units are being reorganized into mobile forces. These will operate out of the deployment bases and all other Norwegian
airfields and landingstrips, which are now classified as "field bases".