Norway's F-35s take on NATO QRA role for the first time

Norway's F-35 fleet will be covering NATO's quick-reaction alert (QRA) capability in the High North, ending a 42-year run of the country’s F-16s flying out of Bodø Air Base. The F-35s are based at Evenes Air Base, about 100 miles further north.

The Norwegian military is expanding the base to also house P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft, putting key aerial and naval surveillance assets into an area that has seen an uptick in Russian military exercises.

At least three F-35s are ready to scramble within 15 minutes and examine potential airspace violations of Norway and, by extension, NATO.

The aircraft have previously accompanied F-16s on QRA missions in anticipation of the formal takeover on January 6th.

Norway expects to have its fleet of 52 F-35s fully operational by 2025, according to the defense ministry. Aside from QRA planes at Evenes, the fleet’s home base is Ørland, located in the south-central part of the country.

Image: Hedvig Antoinette Halgunset / Forsvaret

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