Norwegian Air Chief Brig. Geb. Tonje Skinnarland announced Wednesday the country had reached initial operational capability for the F-35.
The milestone validates Norway's ability to operate the F-35A out of its primary base at Orland Main Air Station. The country plans to buy 52 jets and is the third European country to declare IOC for the F-35.
The Norwegian Air Force has been conducting its own operational test and evaluation of the F-35A over the past two years and plans to deploy the jet to Iceland for a NATO air-policing mission. The service is aiming to train enough Joint Strike Fighter pilots and maintainers by 2022 to let the aircraft assume the quick reaction alert mission, according to a press release.