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Norway to share F-35 costs with UK

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Norway to share F-35 costs with UK
Lockheed Martin's F-35 stealth fighter. Photo: Flickr|US Navy
10:03 CEST+02:00
Norway's air forces are to work with the UK on sharing costs around the expensive F-35 stealth fighter both have ordered from Lockheed Martin.
Norwegian defence minister Ine Eriksen Søreide met British defence secretary Philip Hammond in London on Tuesday to discuss the potential deal, which will help cut costs for both countries. 
 
"This is an airplane that requires a special and quite costly support structure to get them to function effectively and it is therefore sensible to cooperate on this," Hammond told Norway's VG newspaper. "We will both initially have quite small fleets of F-35 aircraft so it makes sense to share some of the expensive infrastructure." 
 
Norway has agreed to buy up to 52 of the aircraft. Britain is expected to imminently make an order for 14 of the advanced jets, the first order since it committed to buying 48 of the planes in 2012. 
 
It has already taken delivery of three training jets.
 
The F-35 is arguably the world's most expensive weapons programme, with $396 billion spent so far by the US, Britain Norway, and six other development partners. 
 
Hammond told VG that the recent Ukraine crisis had highlighted the need to safeguard the seas and waters off northern Norway. 
 
"The renewed Russian challenge reminds us that the high seas and the waters off the coast of Norway are very important," he said.
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