Norway's parliament has approved the planned purchase of the nation's first six operational F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, as Lockheed Martin also waits on the UK to formalise a new order, says Steve O'Bryan, the company's vice-president programme integration.

While it has yet to sign a contract, Norway's planned acquisition will cover conventional take-off and landing aircraft to be built during the F-35 programme's ninth lot of low-rate initial production, with deliveries to occur in 2019.

Earlier this year, Oslo confirmed a plan to buy up to 48 operational F-35s, following four aircraft to be used for training purposes.

O'Bryan says the UK Ministry of Defence should make a so-called "Main Gate 4" decision "this fall", covering its first operational-standard F-35Bs.

The UK has already taken delivery of three short take-off and vertical landing aircraft, which will be used to support initial operational evaluation and training activities in the USA. Its next order is expected to be for 14 aircraft.

Meanwhile, the first F-35 parts to come together on a new final assembly and check-out line at Cameri air base in Italy will be joined on 18 July, O'Bryan says.

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Source: Flight Daily News