The Norwegian Government this week followed up on the new Long Term Defence Plan presented in June with a 2017 budget that involves a significant increase in the funding level for the Norwegian Armed Forces. In total, the Government proposes a NOK 1.9 billion increase year on year, of which NOK 1.14 billion addresses specific measures recommended by the Long Term Defence Plan.
These funding increases serve as an initial step in the process that aims to add NOK 165 billion to the budgets of the Norwegian Armed Forces over the coming 20 years. Focusing on addressing shortfalls in maintenance, spare parts and ammunition, and improving training levels and readiness, it seeks to create a solid basis for future investments.
Significantly, the budget also for the first time includes funding increases specifically intended to address the cost growth of military equipment, which consistently exceeds that of civilian sectors. This measure is intended to halt the continuing decline in purchasing power of the defence budget, and ensure better long term sustainability for the Armed Forces.
Among other major proposals, the Government is requesting authorization to order a further 12 F-35 combat aircraft out of the planned total of 52, divided by two batches of six delivered in 2021 and 2022. If approved, this would bring the total number of aircraft authorized to 40, and would allow Norway to participate in the proposed multinational block buy initiative.
The Government is also requesting an allocation of NOK 8.6 billion to cover existing commitments relating to the acquisition of the F-35 and related equipment and infrastructure.
Finally, the Norwegian Government also recommends accelerating the purchase of three new helicopter-capable Cost Guard vessels to replace the current Nordkapp-class. While already part of the Long Term Defence Plan, the Government no commits to an earlier procurement of these vessels than planned, and that they are to be built by Norwegian industry. The Government now plans to present this procurement project for Parliamentary approval in early 2018.
“We said when we introduced the new Long Term Defence Plan that first we had to make sure that what we already have actually works. That is exactly what this budget aims to do. We still have a long way to go, but this is an important first step towards building more capable and sustainable Armed Forces for Norway,” says Norwegian Minister of Defence Ms. Ine Eriksen Søreide.
Total defence budget: NOK 50.9 billion
— Personnel and operations: NOK 35.6 billion
— Infrastructure: NOK 3.1 billion
— Procurement: NOK 12.1 billion