Report: Norway to Buy More Lockheed F-35 Jets

Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) could receive orders sooner than expected to produce additional F-35 jets for Norway, Reuters reports.

The Norwegian government released a white paper Friday, outlining revised plans to purchase four additional F-35 Joint Strike Fighter planes and training jets.

The country will purchase 52 of the planes, including four training planes, from 2015 through 2023 or 2024, the white paper said.

The country previously planned to purchase 48 planes from 2016 to 2020,  according to Reuters.

Initial funding for the fleet will now flow to Lockheed starting in 2013 instead of 2014.

The white paper called for a 7 percent increase in defense spending from 2013 to 2016 to accommodate Norway’s temporary strengthening strategy to acquire a new F-35 combat aircraft fleet, the report said.

Lockheed and the Defense Department’s F-35 program office said they will collaborate with the Norwegian government to implement its revised plans on the F-35 program, according to the report.

Norway’s parliament will be involved in the yearly acquisition of aircraft and will confirm the final six orders for plane production at a later stage.

The Bethesda, Md.-based  is developing variants of the radar-evading fighter jet for the U.S., Australia, Canada, Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Turkey and the U.K.

On March 13, the company won $95 million in U.S. Navy contract modifications for additional F-35 production work.

The governments of Australia and Italy will receive jets produced under that agreement.

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