Pressemelding | Dato: 18.12.2006
The Government has approved the so-called conceptual solution for the combat aircraft acquisition. The process towards a possible acquisition of new combat aircraft will now be intensified.
The Government moves the combat aircraft acquisition into the next stage – Maintains three candidates
The Government has now approved the so-called conceptual solution for the combat aircraft acquisition, effectively moving the combat aircraft project into the next stage. The process towards a possible acquisition of new combat aircraft will now be intensified.
– We are still pursuing competition, and will therefore maintain a close dialogue with all three potential candidates, JAS Gripen, Eurofighter and Joint Strike Fighter, says Minister of Defence Anne-Grete Strøm-Erichsen. The Government will delay a decision on whether to continue the JSF production phase until a satisfactory level of Norwegian industrial participation has been achieved, but if we continue with JSF, we will also enter into agreements with the other two candidates, emphasizes Strøm-Erichsen.
Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre says that the final choice of combat aircraft will be based on an overall evaluation. – To me it is of vital importance that the new aircrafts are able to meet Norway’s defence policy needs and at the same time enable us to contribute to international peace and stability through NATO and other international operations.
Due to the estimated magnitude of this investment, significant resources have been allocated to developing the conceptual solution. Studies have been conducted on how to provide a future Norwegian combat aircraft capability, including discussions on several alternatives. – We have examined many options, and as a result of these deliberations, we have concluded that we would like to pursue the combat aircraft alternative, - either JAS Gripen, Eurofighter or JSF. In addition we have decided to pursue the option of extending the life of our current combat aircraft, with the aim of acquiring new aircraft at a later stage, says Minister of Defence Strøm-Erichsen. In accordance with established policy for major public investment projects, the conceptual solution has been subject to quality review by external consultants.
– The Government’s main concern at this stage was to confirm the need for a future combat aircraft capability, and to move the project into the next stage with fewer alternatives than have been considered so far. We will now enter a more in depth dialogue with all candidates and receive updates on the data we currently possess. Furthermore the Government finds it important to examine more closely the industrial plans that we have received. Current assessments of these plans show that they are all acceptable, however they do need more work, says Strøm-Erichsen.
The Government has agreed to carry on with three candidates, but plans associated with industrial cooperation possibilities must be in place. This is also a requirement for signing a potential JSF production agreement. – It has been our long term intention to consider signing the JSF production agreement this fall. However, there still remain some questions that need to be clarified. I have therefore been granted authority by the Government to sign the JSF production agreement when I find the industrial plan for this candidate satisfactory, continues Strøm-Erichsen. The Ministry of Defence will also contact Eurofighter and Jas Gripen to discuss continued cooperation with these two candidates. We have not selected a candidate and will therefore enter into negotiations with these two (candidates) with the aim of committing to cooperation on development that will ensure an improved decision making basis in this important matter, concludes Strøm-Erichsen.