Nov. 13 (UPI) -- Lockheed Martin announced Friday that the Norwegian government has received its first three F-35A Lightning II aircrafts.
In a ceremony at Ørland Air Base in Central Norway, military and industry leaders celebrated the arrival of the three 5th generation joint strike fighters.
"We mark the start of a new era for the Norwegian Armed Forces," said Norway's Minister of Defense Frank Bakke-Jensen. "The new combat aircraft will be a key factor in deterring any attack on Norway, as well as ensuring that we meet our obligations to the NATO alliance."
"The F-35 remains crucial to the continued modernization of our Armed Forces and our ability to preserve Norwegian and allied security and interests," he added.
Lockheed officials said that Norway's three F-35A aircraft departed from it's facility in Fort Worth, Texas, Nov. 3, 2017, for Ørland Air Base. To date, Norway has taken delivery of 10 F-35s, seven of which are stationed at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona where pilots are training with the aircraft.
"Receiving the first F-35s at Ørland is a major milestone for Norway: it's visible proof of Norway's commitment to the F-35 Program and Norway continues to be one of the strongest partners of the F-35 enterprise," said Vice Admiral Mat Winter, F-35 Program Executive Officer.
Norwegian companies have been instrumental in developing parts of the F-35.
In April, the Norwegian government started testing a drogue parachute braking system for use on F-35 Lightning II aircraft ordered from the United States.
The testing is currently being conducted at Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska. Testing of the system consists of two stages, with the first evaluating how an F-35 behaves in the air with a fitted drogue parachute, and the second focused on how the drogue parachute would function on dry and wet runways.
"The cutting-edge technologies and teamwork of our industry partners here in Norway and around the world have made the F-35 an unequaled technological force," said Marillyn Hewson, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Lockheed Martin Corporation. "With its range, speed, flexibility, and integrated-defense capabilities, the arrival of the F-35 in Norway will strengthen all of the Norwegian armed forces."