Military Wiki
Royal Norwegian Air Force
File:Luftforsvaret ny logo.png
Founded 10 November 1944
Country Norway
Part of Norwegian Armed Forces
Motto(s) For King, People and Fatherland
Commander in Chief HM King Harald V
Ceremonial chief Major General Finn Kristian Hannestad
(1 October 2010 - present)[1]
Roundels Royal Norwegian Air Force Roundel.svg Royal Norwegian Air Force Roundel-LOW VISIBILITY.svg
Aircraft flown
Attack Lockheed F-16 Fighting Falcon
Bomber Lockheed F-16 Fighting Falcon
Dassault Falcon 20
Fighter Lockheed F-16 Fighting Falcon
Helicopter Westland Sea King, Westland Lynx, Bell 412, NH-90
Patrol Lockheed P-3 Orion
Trainer SAAB Safari
Transport C-130 Hercules

The Royal Norwegian Air Force (RNoAF) (Norwegian language: Luftforsvaret) is the air force of Norway. It was established as a separate arm of the Norwegian armed forces on 10 November 1944. The RNoAF's peace force is approximately 1,430 employees (officers, enlisted staff and civilians). 600 personnel also serve their draft period in the RNoAF. After mobilization the RNoAF would consist of approximately 5,500 personnel.

The infrastructure of the RNoAF includes seven airbases (at Andøya, Bardufoss, Bodø, Gardermoen, Rygge, Sola and Ørland), two control and reporting centres (at Sørreisa and Mågerø) and three training centres (at Kjevik in Kristiansand and Persaunet in Trondheim)and at KNM HH/Madlaleiren (Stavanger).



Military flights started on 1 June 1912. The first plane, HNoMS Start, was bought with money donated by the public and piloted by Hans Dons, second in command of the submarine HNoMS Kobben (A-1).[2] Up until 1940 most of the aircraft belonging to the Navy and Army air forces were domestic designs or built under license agreements, the main bomber/scout aircraft of the Army air force being the Dutch-origined Fokker C.V.

World War II

Build-up for WWII

Gloster Gladiator 423 in 1938-1940.

Before 1944 the Air Force were divided into the Norwegian Army Air Service (Hærens Flyvevaaben) and the Royal Norwegian Navy Air Service (Marinens Flyvevaaben).

In the late 30s, as war seemed imminent, more modern aircraft was bought from abroad, including twelve Gloster Gladiator fighters from the UK, and six Heinkel He 115s from Germany. Considerable orders for aircraft were placed with United States companies during the months prior to the invasion of Norway on 9 April 1940.

The most important of the US orders were two orders for comparatively modern Curtiss P-36 Hawk monoplane fighters. The first was for 24 Hawk 75A-6 (with 1200 hp Pratt & Whitney R-1830-SC3-G Twin Wasp engines), 19 of which were delivered before the invasion. Of these 19, though, none were operational when the attack came. A number were still in their shipping crates in Oslo harbour, while others stood at the Kjeller aircraft factory, flight ready, but none combat ready. Some of the Kjeller aircraft had not been fitted with machine guns, and those that had been fitted still lacked gun sights.

The ship with the last five 75A-6s that were shipbound for Norway were diverted to United Kingdom, where they were taken over by Royal Air Force. All 19 Norwegian P-36s that were captured by the German invaders were later sold by the German authorities to the Finnish Air Force, which was to use them to good effect during the Continuation War.

The other order for P-36s was for 36 Hawk 75A-8 (with 1200 hp Wright R-1820-95 Cyclone 9 engines), none of which were delivered in time for the invasion, but were delivered to "Little Norway" near Toronto, Ontario, Canada. There they were used for training Norwegian pilots until the USAAF took over the aircraft and used them under the designation P36G.

Also ordered prior to the invasion were 24 Northrop N-3PB float planes built in on Norwegian specifications for a patrol bomber. The order was made on 12 March 1940 in an effort to replace the Royal Norwegian Navy Air Service's obsolete MF.11 biplane patrol aircraft. None of the type were delivered by 9 April and when they became operational with the 330 (Norwegian) Squadron in May 1941 they were stationed at Reykjavík, Iceland performing anti-submarine and convoy escort duties.

1937-1940 aircraft marking

Escape and exile

The unequal situation led to the rapid defeat of the Norwegian air forces, even though seven Gladiators from Jagevingen (the fighter wing) defended Fornebu airport against the attacking German forces with some success - claiming two Me 110 heavy fighters, two He 111 bombers and one Junkers Ju 52 transport. Jagevingen lost two Gladiators to ground strafing while they were rearming on Fornebu and one in the air, shot down by Future Experte Helmut Lent, injuring the sergeant pilot. After the withdrawal of allied forces, the Norwegian Government gave up fighting in Norway and evacuated to the United Kingdom on 10 June 1940.

Only aircraft of the Royal Norwegian Navy Air Service had the range to fly all the way from their last remaining bases in Northern Norway to the UK. Included amongst the Norwegian aircraft that reached the British Isles were four German-made Heinkel He 115 seaplane bombers, six of which were bought before the war and two more were captured from the Germans during the Norwegian Campaign. One He 115 also escaped to Finland before the surrender of mainland Norway, as did three M.F. 11s; landing on Lake Salmijärvi in Petsamo. A captured Arado Ar 196 originating from the German heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper was also flown to Britain for testing.

For the Norwegian Army Air Service aircraft the only option for escape was Finland, where the planes would be interned but at least not fall into the hands of the Germans. In all two Fokker C.V.s and one de Havilland Tiger Moth made it across the border and onto Finnish airfields just before the capitulation of mainland Norway. All navy and army aircraft that fled to Finland were pressed into service with the Finnish Air Force,[3] while most of the aircrew eventually ended up in "Little Norway".

The Army and Navy air services established themselves in Britain under the command of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Norwegian air and ground crews operated as part of the British Royal Air Force, in both wholly Norwegian squadrons and also in other squadrons and units such as RAF Ferry Command and RAF Bomber Command. In particular, Norwegian personnel operated two squadrons of Supermarine Spitfires: RAF 132 (Norwegian) Wing consisted of No. 331 (Norwegian) Squadron and RAF No. 332 (Norwegian) Squadron. Both planes and running costs were financed by the exiled Norwegian government.

In the autumn of 1940, a Norwegian training center known as "Little Norway" was established next to Toronto Island Airport, Canada.

The Royal Norwegian Air Force (RNoAF) was established by a royal decree on 1 November 1944, thereby merging the Army and Navy air forces. No. 331 (Norwegian) Squadron defended London from 1941 and was the highest scoring fighter squadron in South England during the war.

Up until 8 May 1945, 335 persons had lost their lives while taking part in the efforts of the RNoAF.

Post-war air force

Royal Norwegian Air Force Spitfire

After the war the Spitfire remained in service with the RNoAF into the fifties.

In 1947, the Surveillance and Control Division acquired its first radar system, and around the same time the RNoAF got its first jet fighters in the form of de Havilland Vampires.

In 1949 Norway co-founded NATO, and soon afterwards received American aircraft through the MAP (Military Aid Program). The expansion of the Air Force happened at a very rapid pace as the Cold War progressed. Throughout the Cold War the Norwegian Air Force was only one of two NATO air forces — Turkey being the other — with a responsibility for an area with a land border with the Soviet Union, and Norwegian fighter aircraft had on average 500-600 interceptions of Soviet aircraft each year.[4]

In 1959, the Anti-Aircraft Artillery was integrated into the Royal Norwegian Air Force.

21st century RNoAF

In October 2002, a tri-national force of 18 Norwegian, Danish, and Dutch F-16 fighter-bombers, with one Dutch Air Force KC-10A tanker, flew to the Manas Air Base in Kyrgyzstan, to support the NATO ground forces in Afghanistan as a part of the Operation Enduring Freedom.

In 2004, four F-16s participated on NATO's Baltic Air Policing operation.

Since February, 2006, eight Royal Netherlands Air Force F-16s, joined by four Royal Norwegian Air Force F-16s, have been supporting NATO International Security Assistance Force ground troops mostly in the southern provinces of Afghanistan. The air detachment is known as the 1st Netherlands-Norwegian European Participating Forces Expeditionary Air Wing (1 NLD/NOR EEAW).[5]

Libyan no-fly zone : – In a statement, Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre condemned the violence against "peaceful protesters in Libya, Bahrain and Yemen", saying the protests "are an expression of the people’s desire for more participatory democracy. The authorities must respect fundamental human rights such as political, economic and social rights. It is now vital that all parties do their utmost to foster peaceful dialogue on reforms.".[6] On 19 March 2011 the Norwegian government authorized The Royal Norwegian Air Force to head for Libya and prepare for missions there. Norway has approved 6 General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon fighters and necessary personnel. These fighters will head for Greece on 21 March and operate from the Souda Air Base in Souda Bay on Greece .[7] On 24 March 2011, F-16s from the Royal Norwegian Air Force was assigned to the United States Africa Command and the Operation Odyssey Dawn. A number of Norwegian F-16s took off from their base in Greece for their first mission over Libya.[8][9] On 25 March 2011, 3 laserguided bombs were launched from 2 F-16s of the Royal Norwegian Air Force against Libyan tanks and during the night towards 26 March an airfield was bombed. . Equipment also deployed to Operation Unified Protector on 26 March 2011.[10][11] By July 2011 the Norwegian F-16's had dropped close to 600 bombs, some 17% of the total bombs dropped at that time.[12][13][14] It was Norwegian F-16s that on the night towards 26 April, bombed Gaddafis headquarter in Tripoli[13][15][16][17]

From September to December 2011, the Air Force contributed personnel and one P-3 Orion to Operation Ocean Shield. Operating from the Seychelles, the aircraft searched for pirates in the Somali Basin.[18][19]


The RNoAF will conduct several investments in the coming years. First the European helicopter NH-90 will be introduced to replace the Lynx helicopters as a ship-borne helicopter, but the Air Force also have an option of buying an additional 15 Search and rescue helicopters to replace its aging Sea King helicopters. The aging F-16AM fighter will be replaced from 2016. On 20 November 2008, the prime minister of Norway Jens Stoltenberg announced that the F-35A was the only fighter fulfilling all the Norwegian requirements and thus the preferred choice . Stoltenberg stated that cooperation with the Nordic countries on defence and security would continue independently of the F-35 purchase.[20]

According to the 2012 White paper, a number of changes are proposed:[21]

  • A National Air Operations Centre will be established at Reitan, outside Bodø.
  • The Control and Reporting Centre at Mågerø will be closed.
  • Ørland will become the main operating base for the F-35 as well as NASAMS II and the deployable base defence units.
  • Evenes will house a Quick Reaction Alert detachment when the F-35 replaces the F-16.
  • As F-16 operations wind down in the early 2020s, Bodø will close as an Air Station.
  • Helicopter operations will be consolidated at Bardufoss with detachments:
  • The 3 DA-20 aircraft will move from Rygge to Gardermoen. 720 Squadron will be merged with 339 Squadron at Bardufoss, and Rygge will close as an Air Station.

7 June 2012, The Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress today of a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Norway for 2 C-130J-30 United States Air Force (USAF) baseline aircraft and associated parts, equipment, logistical support and training for an estimated cost of $300 million.[22]


The RNoAF is organized in ten Air Wings. These are divided into a total of two Control and Reporting Centres, nine flying squadrons as well as two anti aircraft units.

Roundel first used in 1945.

Control and Reporting Centre Mågerø

Control and Reporting Centre Sørreisa

Bodø Main Air Station

  • 132 Air Wing
  • Station Group Banak at Banak Air Station (Lakselv Airport)
    • 330 Squadron (Detachment) (Sea King, rescue)

Ørland Main Air Station

  • 138 Air Wing
    • 338 Squadron (F-16A MLU, NRF - NATO Reaction Force)
    • GBAD Battalion (NASAMS 2 batteries)
    • Mobile Base-set (IRF support)
  • 330 Squadron (Detachment) (Sea King, rescue)
  • NATO Airborne Early Warning Force - Forward Operating Location (E-3A Sentry)

Andøya Air Station

Bardufoss Air Station

  • 139 Air Wing
    • 334 Squadron (command) (NH-90, frigate force)
    • 337 Squadron (Lynx/NH-90, Coast Guard)
    • 339 Squadron (Bell 412 SP, transport)
    • 718 Squadron (UAV/UACV)
    • Royal Norwegian Air Force Flight Training School (Saab Safari, flight training)

General Dynamics F-16AM at RIAT 2010.

Gardermoen Air Station

  • 135 Air Wing
    • 335 Squadron (C-130J, transport)

Rygge Air Station

  • 137 Air Wing
    • 717 Squadron (DA-20, electronic warfare & VIP transport)
    • 720 Squadron (Bell 412 SP, special forces transport)
    • 330 Squadron (Detachment) (Sea King, rescue)
    • Base Defence Squadron (BOS - Bakkeoperativ Skvadron) - sequrity force and educational unit for fire- and rescue personnel and radar personnel for the NASAMS II system.[25]

Sola Air Station

Haakonsvern Naval Base

  • 139 Air Wing
    • 334 Squadron (Detachment, to be established) (NH-90, frigate force)

Norwegian Air Force Academy (Trondheim)

Aircraft inventory

Aircraft Origin Type Versions Quantity[26] Notes
Fighter aircraft
General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon  Netherlands
United States
Fighter F-16AM
Original batch of 72 license-built by Fokker. (+ 2 F-16B-15OCU later from General Dynamics)
All have received a mid-life update.[27] To be replaced by F-35A Lightning II.[28]
Transport aircraft
Lockheed C-130 Hercules United States Transport C-130J-30 4 Delivered between November 2008 and June 2010 as replacement for six C-130E/H.
One plane crashed on Kebnekaise during Cold Response 2012. A replacement was delivered in September 2012.[29]
Reconnaissance aircraft
Dassault Falcon 20  France EW
Lockheed P-3 Orion United States Maritime surveillance P-3C UIP
Trainer aircraft
Saab Safari  Sweden Basic training Safari 16 [32]
Bell 412 United States Utility helicopter 412SP 18 Assembled by Helikopter Service in Norway
NHI NH90  European Union Utility helicopter NH-90 NFH 6 14 ordered in total, 10 as option[33] the first was taken over during a ceremony in Italy in November 2011.[34]
Westland Lynx  United Kingdom Coast Guard helicopter Lynx Mk.86 2 Used by the Coast Guard, being replaced by NH90.
Westland Sea King  United Kingdom SAR helicopter Sea King Mk.43 12 Owned by the Royal Norwegian Air Force and the Ministry of Justice. Main role is search and rescue.


  • NASAMS Norwegian Advanced Surface to Air Missile System (based on the AIM-120 AMRAAM) 6 Units
  • Robotsystem 70 and other numberus systems.

Historical inventory

A old Canadair CF-104 Starfighter of the 334 skvadron

Northrop F-5 Freedom Fighter


Northrop N-3PB

Typ Quantity years of use Notes
Agusta-Bell 47J/J-2
Bell 47D-1
Bell 47G-3
Airspeed Oxford I/II 22 1947-1953
Avro Anson I 10 1947-1951
Bell UH-1B 37 1963-1990
Cessna L-19A (O-1A) 27 1960-1992
Consolidated PBY IV A: (3)
IV B: 12
PBY-5A: 6
de Havilland Canada DHC-3 10 1953-1968
de Havilland Canada DHC-6 5 1967-2001
de Havilland Mosquito T.III: 3
FB VI: 19
de Havilland Vampire T.55: 6
F.III: 20
FB 52: 36
Douglas C-47A 7
Douglas C-53D 3 1945-1946
Fairchild M-62 74 1945-1957
Fairchild C-119G Flying Boxcar 8 1956-1969
Fieseler Fi 156 Storch 30 1945-1954
Grumman HU-16B (ASW) Albatross 18 1961-1969
Junkers Ju 52/3m 18 1945-1951
Lockheed C-56B/C-60A Lodestar 7 1945-1950
Lockheed C-130E/H Hercules 6 1969-2008
Lockheed F-104
(Canadair CF-104)
F-104G: 19
TF-104G: 4
CF-104: 19
CF-104D: 3
Lockheed T-33A 22 1953-1968
Noorduyn Norseman IV/VI 24 1945-1959
North American Harvard II/IIB/SNJ3/4 39 1945-1956
North American F-86 F-86F: 115
F-86K: 64
Northrop N-3PB 2 1945-1956
Northrop F-5 A: 78
B: 14
RF-5A: 16
Piper L-18C 16 1955-1992
Republic F-84 F-84E: 6
F:84G: 200
RF-84F: 35
SAAB 91B/B-2 Safir 30 1956-1988
Short Sunderland Mk V (11) 1945
Sikorsky H-19D-4 4 1958-1967
Supermarine Spitfire LF.IXe: 73
PR XI: 3
Focke-Wulf Fw 189A-2 1 1945-1946
Messerschmitt Bf 108 Taifun 2 1945
Junkers W 34 1 1945-1946

Surface-to-air missile


See also


  1. Official Norwegian Defence Force website: Generalmajor Finn Kristian Hannestad (Norwegian)
  2. Official Norwegian Defence Force website: History of the Royal Norwegian Air Force (Norwegian)
  3. Finnish Air Force Aircraft of WWII
  4. The Norwegian Air Force chief's address to Oslo Military Society in 2004
  5. Dutch MoD on the 1 NLD/NOR EEAW
  6. "Norway condemns violence in Libya, Bahrain and Yemen". Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Retrieved 2011-02-22. 
  13. 13.0 13.1
  18. Norwegian contribution to Ocean Shield (In Norwegian)
  19. Norwegian Orion found pirates
  20. "The Joint Strike Fighter recommended to replace the F-16". Norwegian Prime Minister's Office. 20 November 2008. Retrieved 21 November 2008. 
  21. Forsvarsdepartementet. "Et Forsvar for vår tid". 2012 White Paper. Regjeringen. Retrieved 22 April 2012. 
  26. "World Air Forces 2013"., December 11, 2012.
  27. "Forsvarsnett: The Royal Norwegian Air Force". Archived from the original on 2007-03-16. Retrieved 2007-03-20. 
  29. accepts replacement for crashed C-130J
  30. Forsvarsnett: DA-20
  31. Forsvarsnett: 333 Skvadron Forsvarsnett: The “neversleeping eye” in the north
  32. Forsvarsnett: Saab Safari
  33. Norwegian military aviation OrBat
  34. Norway Takes Delivery of Its First NH90

External links

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