Team members from the Air Force Flight Test Center and the Joint Strike Fighter Integrated Test Force welcomed Norwegian representatives for a visit here Feb. 28 and 29 to provide Norwegian media and Norwegian military officials access to the F-35 Lightning II in order to learn about the aircraft.

The two-day tour not only facilitated a thorough informational tour but a media opportunity with the Norwegian State Secretary of Defence, Roger Ingebrigtsen, who was also visiting Edwards to learn more about the F-35 and the program at Edwards.

“We’ve taken this opportunity to ask that the Norwegian media and press come with us to see firsthand how Edwards is working with the F-35 test program, to see how far the test program has progressed and to see an actual take-off and landing of the aircraft,” said Maj. Eystein Kvarving, spokesperson with the Norwegian Ministry of Defence. “This is the first time Norwegian media have been able to visit the base, see the program and see an F-35 in flight.”

During its tour at Edwards and the ITF, the Norwegian group was treated to a plane-side brief next to AF-3, the first fully low-observable compliant F-35, which was led by a test pilot from the 461st Flight Test Squadron.

“We have members of the Norwegian Air Force that work side-by-side with our military, contractor and civilian team along with members from all the other partner nations. This visit today was not only an opportunity to showcase the hard work and dedication of the entire JSF-ITF team at Edwards, but an opportunity to let the Norwegian visitors see what we are doing with F-35 flight test,” said Maj. Matthew Hayden, 461 FLTS assistant director of operations and test pilot. “The F-35 will be a tremendous asset to the U.S. services as well as our partner nations as a multi-role fifth generation strike fighter, expanding the battlespace dominance of our forces.”

After the plane-side brief, the group attended a brief and demonstration video highlighting the latest accomplishments the F-35 test program has had while at Edwards.

“Our partnership with the United States has been a longstanding relationship and we know it’s a good relationship. Working together now on the F-35 program, the joint program’s office in Washington, D.C. and having people here on base learning from each other we know it will only continue to increase,” said Kvarving. “From our perspective, we see this [partnership] as an opportunity to be able to be a part of the development of the F-35 and to learn important issues that we need to consider when implementing the system back home.”

With Norway’s current discussions of the F-35 program in Norway, the visit to Edwards was extremely important as explained by Kvarving.

“Right now we’re in the process where the Norwegian government is about to make a recommendation to their parliament as far as how many F-35s we want to buy and where we should base these aircraft. That recommendation is about to four to five weeks out and this is a major issue in Norwegian media and a major issue in the Norwegian public,” said Kvarving. “Today was of great value and a great opportunity to visit Edwards Air Force Base and give people a chance to see it firsthand.”

The tour and day’s events culminated with an F-35 departure from Runway 22R that provided a close-up look for Norwegian media and military members alike.

“We were extremely happy with the support and welcome that we received here on base. It’s been phenomenal,” Kvarving said. “From the leadership down, we really appreciate what everyone has done in order to be able to make this happen today.”