"Norway important Ally safeguarding northern NATO skies"
By Compiled Staff Report, Allied Air Command Public Affairs Office and the Royal Norwegian Air Force
/ Published February 15, 2018
ØRLAND AIR BASE, Norway -- Commander Allied Air Command, General Tod Wolters, had the opportunity for a comprehensive visit to Norway from Feb 7 to 9, 2018. Following meetings with the Chief of the Defence Staff, Lieutenant General Erik Gustavson and a tour of the Norwegian Defence Staff situation centre in Oslo, Chief of the Royal Norwegian Air Force, Major General Tonje Skinnarland, accompanied General Wolters on a flight from Gardermoen airport to Bodø Air Base.
During the flight, two Norwegian F-16 fighter aircraft met General Wolters’ plane showcasing their capabilities and training identification procedures important for the Air Policing mission. "The Norwegian air force do an excellent job and they are very professional,” General Wolters said. "We look forward to further developing our cooperation with you, as we lead NATO's air forces into the future,” he added.
On the ground at Bodø Air Base the General visited the Norwegian Joint Headquarters for updates about the Norwegian activities in the Arctic and North Atlantic, the Norwegian Air Force and the national Norwegian Air Operations Centre.
On Feb 9, General Wolters arrived at Ørland Air Base where Major General Skinnarland presented the project of the integration of F-35 fighter aircraft into the country’s military. Norway is one of eight NATO Allies embracing the introduction of modern fighter aircraft like the F-35 into the armed forces.
"When you look at the map it is obvious that Air Power is crucial to cover Norway's area of interest in a relevant manner,” Major General Skinnarland said. "In our future concept, the F-35 will be vital for our first-line national defence, capability and readiness – this is of great importance both to our country and to NATO,” she added. According to her, General Wolters’ visit has been a welcome opportunity to portray NATO in the High North and to discuss how cooperation can be optimised between the Royal Norwegian Air Force and NATO as both are moving forward.
General Wolters’ tour d’horizon of the Ally Norway concluded with a briefing about the NATO AWACS Forward Operating Base at Ørland and future NATO and multinational exercises and training activities.