FORT WORTH, Texas, June 23 (UPI) -- U.S. aircraft manufacturer Lockheed Martin has welcomed the Norwegian Parliament's funding approval for F-35 Lightning II training aircraft.
The approval last week will provide for four of the training aircraft.
The F-35 will bridge the gap between Norway's F-16s due to be phased out by 2023.
"We're very pleased with the announcement and are committed to supporting the Norwegian government in moving forward with the F-35," said Tom Burbage, Lockheed Martin executive vice president and general manager of F-35 Program Integration. "The Lightning II will help ensure Norway's national security and also brings substantial opportunities for Norwegian industry."
The F-35 is a fifth-generation, multi-role stealth fighter developed and funded by nine partner countries, including Norway. It is designed to excel in both air-to-air and air-to-ground operations and features the most comprehensive and powerful avionics of any fighter ever produced.
Norway plans to acquire 48 F-35s and the first jets would be delivered to Norway in 2016.
Three F-35 variants derived from a common design, developed together and using the same sustainment infrastructure worldwide, will replace at least 13 types of aircraft for 11 nations initially.
Lockheed Martin is developing the F-35 with its principal industrial partners Northrop Grumman, BAE Systems and Pratt and Whitney.