Norway to sell limited number of F-16s to Draken International

The Norwegian Defence Materiel Agency has signed a contract with US company Draken International to sell up to 12 F-16 combat aircraft. The aircraft will be used as part of Draken’s training services in the United States.

For decades the F-16s have been the backbone of the Royal Norwegian Air Force and of the defence of Norway, protecting Norwegian sovereignty and participating in several national and international operations and exercises. With the F-16 now approaching the end of its service, the Norwegian Defence Materiel Agency was tasked by the Ministry of Defence in September 2019 to begin preparations to retire the remaining aircraft by the end of 2021, and potentially selling them to another user.

– The F-16 has served the Norwegian Armed Forces and the nation very well for over 40 years until their replacement by the F-35. The Ministry of Defence has been clear on their wish that Norwegian F-16s should see continued use by others within the NATO alliance. We are therefore pleased that the Norwegian Defence Materiel Agency has agreed to sell up to 12 aircraft to Draken International, a company offering services to the US military. We also continue our discussions with NATO allies about the sale of several Norwegian F-16s. I therefore look forward to seeing our aircraft remaining in active service for some time, says Minister of Defence Odd-Roger Enoksen.

The contract itself includes the sale of up to twelve aircraft and equipment necessary to operate the aircraft.

– I am very pleased that we at the Norwegian Defence Materiel Agency have secured a first agreement for the F-16s. These are among the most well-maintained combat aircraft in the world and are overall in excellent technical condition, which will provide years of solid service to Draken International, says Director General of the Norwegian Defence Materiel Agency, Mette Sørfonden.

Transfer to Draken International in the United States is expected to happen in 2022, pending formal approval by the US and Norwegian governments. The contract also provides opportunities for Norwegian industry, including maintenance of the aircraft in advance of delivery.

– We will continue our efforts to sell as many of the remaining aircraft as possible, and hope to be able to conclude further agreements within the next few months, says director Mette Sørfonden.

A Norwegian F-16
A Norwegian F-16 Credit: Forsvaret

Facts:

  • In September 2019, the Ministry of Defence tasked the Norwegian Defence Materiel Agency to lead the retirement of the F-16 system in accordance with current regulations and under the best possible terms for the Norwegian government.
  • On Monday 22 November, the director of the Norwegian Defence Materiel Agency, Mette Sørfonden, signed an agreement to sell up to 12 F-16 aircraft to Draken International.
  • Draken International is a leader within «Red Air services», where Draken International is in the role of opponent in the training of US pilots. The primary role of the Norwegian F-16 will therefore be as practice opponents for US combat aircraft.
  • The sale of the F-16, or equipment related to the F-16, must be approved by both the US and Norwegian authorities.