Skip to comments.US keeps pushing Norway to buy Joint Strike Fighter jets
Posted on 05/23/2006 12:31:53 PM PDT by Kurt_Hectic
US President George W Bush's new man in Oslo applied some not-so-subtle pressure on Norway to buy US Joint Strike Fighter jets this week, saying a failure to do so would weaken military operations between the countries. Not true, responded a top Norwegian military official.
"No matter what type of fighter jet we decide to buy, it will be NATO-compatible," Espen Barth Eide of the Defense Ministry told newspaper Aftenposten on Tuesday.
Barth Eide was responding to remarks made by US Ambassador Benson K Whitney during a speech Monday before The Norwegian Atlantic Committee, an independent organization that aims to increase understanding of Norwegian foreign, military and security policy.
In otherwise general remarks aimed at nurturing relations between the US and Norway, Whitney made it clear that he and his president want Norway to commit to buying Joint Strike Fighters from Lockheed Martin. The F-35 JSF jets would be produced at Lockheed Martin's Fort Worth division in Texas, Bush's home state.
The JSF program aims to build three versions of the same single-engine stealth fighter plane for the US and eight allied nations. It represents a huge investment and billions of dollars are at stake, making it critical for the US defense industry that foreign partners play along.
"Norway's continued participation in the Joint Strike Fighter program would maximize our continued ability to work together globally," said Whitney in prepared remarks. " I hope that going forward with this decision will be seen as not just an economic issue, but also one of critical strategic importance." He maintained that the US and Norway must use the same technological platform to ensure that they can mount military operations together.
Political observers listening to his speech had no doubts that the US will evaluate Norway's final decision on the jet fighters as an indication of how closely Norway wants to cooperate with the US.
Asked whether the lack of a Norwegian commitment to the JSF program would damage relations between the two countries, Whitney avoided answering directly. "My point is that our ability to operate together will be weakened," he told Aftenposten, if Norway buys its jet fighters from a producer outside the US.
'Just doing his job' Barth Eide of the Norwegian Defense Industry said he was neither surprised nor angry that the US ambassador was doing his job by trying to sell the American fighter jets. Barth Eide noted, however, that NATO's fleet of jets already is varied and not dependent on jets of the same make.
Norwegian officials have also complained earlier that Norwegian sub-contractors have been snaring few contracts for work on the JSF program. Norway also has other jet fighter options, not least the rival Eurofighter program.
The Dallas Morning News reported earlier this month that Barth Eide had sent an e-mail to the Pentagon procurement chief Kenneth Krieg, informing him that "the Norwegian government (had)... decided to continue its participation" in developing the JSF F-35 jet. Barth Eide added, however, that the decision "is not a commitment to purchasing the JSF, and we will continue our dialogue also with the other potential suppliers."
Barth Eide told Aftenposten on Tuesday that Norway will prioritize its operational needs, the price of the jets and the quality, along with the opportunities Norwegian industry stand to get from the program.
"If we end up buying fighter jets other than the JSF, it doesn't mean we're turning our back on the US," he said.
And you would be correct...but I am sure "Pukin Dog" will be on this thread to tell you otherwise and then how right he is...
Why do we want to sell the latest technology to a future Muslim nation?........
The others simply lost, now they cry that it's only because of politics or blame their failure on anything except the fact that the platform competing with the JSF is less capable, more expensive (In the EF case), harder to logistically sustain and and and. JSF will be the next F16. Everyone knows it. What you have now is sour grapes by those who lost.
The F-35 was on display at Andrews AFB open house last weekend. It's designed to be very cost-efficient, with standardized components. I think there's 9 countries who are going to be using it, at least so far.
The moos won't eat a tasty BLT, but they will chow down on lutefisk?
Money. Benson K Whitney sees his future as lobbying for L:ockeheed Martin