Norway intends to acquire a strategic airlift capability by 2010, but it may lease rather than purchase aircraft. The country is also mulling shorter-term transport capability as its six Lockheed Martin C-130H Hercules will not last until 2010.

The defence ministry says strategic airlift could be provided by leasing or purchase. Possibilities include the Airbus Military A400M, Antonov An-124 and Boeing C-17, while the stretched C-130J-30 "may be in there".

For the interim requirement the defence ministry says it will issue a request for information in March/April next year. The C-130Hs could be upgraded, but this is an expensive option, says the ministry. It is looking at leasing, acquisition or a "bilateral" arrangement with another NATO member to use, or lease, aircraft, or "it could be that Boeing or Lockheed Martin have aircraft they want to lease to us".

Norway has also spoken to Alenia and EADS Casa about the C-27J and C295, respectively. "We're looking for a package, and we need the same capability as today, maybe not the same size aircraft, although all our equipment is sized for the Hercules."

Source: Flight International