The National Audit Office reports on the introduction of the F-35 fighter jet – NRK Trøndelag – on local news, TV and radio.

The National Audit Office reports on the introduction of the F-35 fighter jet – NRK Trøndelag – on local news, TV and radio.

– It worries me that Storting has not been given a good enough picture of what the F-35 costs, and SV believes that the control committee should investigate whether the defense ministers can provide more and better information during that period.

This is what Audun Lisbakken from SV says, who thinks the criticism of the National Audit Office is too serious.

According to the plan, the fighter jets would be fully operational by 2025, but the National Audit Office says that won’t happen.

– We will not see a fully operational fighter jet in 2025.

Auditor General Karl Eirik Schjøtt-Pedersen says.

The discrepancy between the public narrative of the F-35’s phasing and the actual situation is staggering.

This is what Christian Tybring-Gjedde at FRP has to say about the National Audit Office’s findings.

For the first time, the National Audit Office is releasing information on the F-35’s phase.

– KA classic case of doing too little

The National Audit Office has criticized the Ministry of Defense for not budgeting to meet its target of inducting fighter jets by 2025.

This is despite the dangers being known for a long time.

The Ministry of Defense has also been heavily criticized for not initiating sufficient measures to achieve the ambition of the Air Force.

– Our assessment is that the Ministry of Defense is not doing enough to meet the target of full operational capability by 2025.

Auditor General Carl Erik Schjot-Pedersen.

Photo: Ksenia Novikova / NRK

Auditor General Karl Eirik Schjøtt-Pedersen says.

– A classic case of too little being done too late.

They point out that the underestimation of the lifetime costs of purchasing fighter jets is unsatisfactory.

There are two things that the National Audit Office has investigated:

  • Lifetime costs for the F-35
  • Infrastructure and support functions for operational capability of combat air forces

Strong criticism of the Ministry of Defense

The Ministry of Defense receives criticism from the National Audit Office in both investigations.

– Challenges with administration and governance recur throughout the studies. Even if the risk is well known, Schiot-Pedersen says.

He pointed out that it is natural that the question arises «Why did the defense department fail to correct the mistakes and deficiencies they were fully aware of?»

This will have consequences on national security and spending.

The National Audit Office points out that there are challenges with spare parts and munitions for the aircraft and insufficient air defense and ground defense to protect the aircraft.

– The Ministry of Defense is heavily criticized for not doing enough.

He also pointed out that the Ministry of Defense should have already planned for 2012 with more assets, buildings and facilities.

The report says the Ministry of Defense did not follow up on reported risks with adequate measures.

Arctic Challenge 2023, F-35, fighter jet, Ørland

F-35 at Ørland Air Base.

Photo: Ingrid Lindgaard Stranden / no

Adjustment takes time

– We are in a different security policy situation that requires other security measures. At the same time, the manpower requirement was underestimated when the fighter jet purchase was approved.

According to Defense Minister Bjorn Arild Gramm (SP), building infrastructure and training personnel will take time.

Bjørn Arild Gram, Minister of Defence

Defense Minister Bjorn Arild Gramm.

Photo: David Scowley / NRK

The Defense Minister says he takes the National Audit Office’s assessments very seriously.

– The challenges indicated are complex and require long-term solutions. Together with the Norwegian Armed Forces, the government has implemented a number of measures to improve the operational capabilities of the combat air force.

He says they need to make arrangements for action and continually assess the need for further action.

Air Force Chief Rolf Folland tells NRK that they recognize what Auditor General Schjøtt-Pedersen is saying, and that they will have challenges in reaching the planned milestones.
This is particularly related to not having enough technicians, but it also has enough other personnel and expertise.

– A lot of positive things are happening. Among others, with the education of many aviation technicians. But these are time-consuming processes, and Folland says it will come down to the latest.

Rolf Folland, Chief of the Air Force

Air Force Chief Rolf Folland said the F-35 is an incredibly capable system that has produced better results than they had anticipated.

Photo: Jøte Toftaker / NRK

He also pointed out that there are challenges in building inventory and infrastructure within the air base at Ørlandet.

– An example is relocation and catering capabilities, and it’s all about hanging the last 12 fighters that should be in tents now. It’s not a solution that’s sustainable over time, Folland says.

The National Audit Office presented the report on Thursday, December 7 at 1 pm.

Should have done earlier

– The purchase of fighter jets has been characterized by a lack of realism and composure, which is unacceptable in relation to such a large and important decision, Lisbakken says.

He believes the control panel should begin with investigations of former defense ministers. Even a member of the Control and Constitution Committee says this is a statement that should be taken seriously.

– It should have been done earlier, but fortunately, since it took over, the government has done a lot to strengthen the operational capability of our fighter jets.

This is what Frode Jacobsen (Ap) says in the Control and Constitution Committee. Seher Aydar in Rødt’s group says that the government cannot carry out the Storting’s decision.

– The report of the National Audit Office clearly states that the government has presented a totally unrealistic budget.

Introduction of the F-35

In 2022, the F-35 took over the QRA for the F-16.

The Air Force chief points out that when something new is phased in, because it is new, there will be requirements.

– Folland says that the ability to take changes and translate them into action is not as useful in a management system as one would like.

Norway received 40 of the 52 fighter jets. The price per flight is approximately NOK 900 million.

All new fighter jets are scheduled to be delivered by 2024.

Norway receives six aircraft a year from American Lockheed Martin. But there has been a delay in the delivery of the fighter jet. Among other things, this was due to an accident during a test run of a fighter jet in the United States.

Lockheed Martin then stopped all test flights and deliveries of the aircraft.

Deliveries resumed in May.

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