With 52 F-35 fighter jets as a replacement for its ageing F-16 fleet, Norway hopes to build one of the world’s most modern air forces. However, there are fears it will be hamstrung by a dramatic lack of pilots and technicians.
Despite Norway’s massive investment and ambitions of building up a formidable air force, it may end up largely grounded due to lack of experienced pilots and ballooning associated costs, the daily newspaper Aftenposten reported.
“In 2025, we will have one of the world’s most modern air defences. My big concern is whether we have enough money to actually use it”, Major General Tonje Skinnarland, the Chief of Norway’s Air Force, told Aftenposten.
According to Skinnarland, there is a large gap between the recommended number of pilots and the actual number of trainees schooled annually. In addition to the lack of pilots, Skinnarland also highlighted the lack of aviation technicians. This is exacerbated by the fact that very many of today’s pilots and technicians are approaching retirement age.