The Norwegian Defense Materiel Agency has signed a contract to sell up to 12 F-16 combat aircraft to US military provider Draken International to be used as part of training services, the Norwegian government announced on Thursday on its website.
The contract was signed on Monday by the director of the Norwegian Defense Materiel Agency, Mette Sorfonden.
“We are therefore pleased that the Norwegian Defence Materiel Agency has agreed to sell up to 12 aircraft to Draken International, a company offering services to the US military. We are also continuing our discussions with NATO allies about the sale of several Norwegian F-16s. I, therefore, look forward to seeing our aircraft remaining in active service for some time,” Norwegian Minister of Defence Odd-Roger Enoksen said.
The contract stipulates the sale of up to 12 fighters with the necessary equipment for maintenance and operation.
The Materiel Agency noted that F-16s have been “a backbone of the Royal Norwegian Air Force and of the defense of Norway, protecting Norwegian sovereignty and participating in several national and international operations and exercises.”
It also noted that the sale of F-16s was tasked by the Norwegian Defense Ministry in 2019, with the aircraft now approaching the end of its service.
The F-16 aircraft have served the Armed Forces and the nation very well for over 40 years until they are now replaced by the F-35. I am very pleased that we at Forsvarsmateriell have put in place a first agreement on the sale of several of our F-16 aircraft. The fighter aircraft are among the best maintained in the world and have a consistently held high standard that will ensure Draken International gets reliable aircraft for a number of years to come, said director of Defense Materiel, Mette Sørfonden.
Delivery time depends on when the US and Norwegian authorities approve the sale but will be able to be delivered during 2022. We are now continuing the work of selling as many of the remaining aircraft as possible and have expectations that this can be realized in the coming months, Sørfonden said.
For the remaining aircraft that cannot be sold, an overall assessment will be made regarding the possibilities for exhibition at a museum or other purposes. Here, too, approval from the American and Norwegian authorities will be required.
Draken International is an American provider of former fighter aircraft for military and defense industry customers. The company offers such services as flight training, threat simulation, electronic warfare support, aerial refueling, research, and testing services to the US Department of Defense, US contractors, and aerospace companies.
- Via Sputnik News Agency
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