Defense Minister Frank Bakke-Jensen (H) said in his statement to the Storting on the Libya War on Tuesday that NATO relies on the US to be able to carry out major air operations outside Europe or the United States. It’s about different military capabilities, he said.
At questions from Klassekampen after the debate, Bakke-Jensen confirmed that one of these capacities is tank aircraft.
In the Libya War, European NATO countries proved to have few tankers and depended on the United States to carry out the air war.
In February 2017, Norway entered into an agreement with the Netherlands and Germany for the purchase of eight new A330 MRTT tankers. The aircraft will be made by Airbus, stationed in Tysland and the Netherlands and will be shared between a handful of countries.
– Now we have done something about tankers, where we share with five-six countries, says Bakke-Jensen.
On the other hand, this disagrees with NATO. The class struggle last October wrote that NATO believes Norway should buy two very own tankers. NATO believes that the aircraft should be ready for use in 2028 and 2029. Norway has protested this claim and argued that the cooperation project with Germany and the Netherlands covers the need.
The case is as far as Klassekampen knows yet to be clarified.
– This is part of the ongoing planning work and capacity building in NATO, says Bakke-Jensen.
Australia recently bought such aircraft at around NOK 2.2 billion each. This means that a Norwegian purchase would cost around NOK 4.4 billion, as well as operating costs and hangars.