SV critical of own government over fighter jets

Norway’s Socialist Left party (SV), one of the three parties forming the country’s coalition government, has little faith in its own government’s numbers regarding estimated costs of new fighter jets. SV is calling for a probe to be carried out by state auditor Riksrevisjonen.

Newspaper Aftenposten reported Friday that Hallgeir Langeland, a Member of Parliament and a member of SV’s own control committee, doesn’t think Norway’s left-center government has handled the pending and controversial fighter jet deal very well. The purchase will be the largest ever made but uncertainty reigns over what the price tag and ongoing costs of the deal will be.

The government has decided to buy 56 American fighter jets called the F35 Lightning II, also known as Joint Strike Fighter. The jets were initially believed to cost NOK 18 billion (USD 3.3 billion) with delivery from 2016 to 2023, but costs seem to be going up and contracts won’t be signed until 2014. US officials also have complained that the F35 costs are rising, and that they are unclear.

State Auditor Jørgen Kosmo, a former defense minister himself for the Labour Party, agreed to probe the fighter jet deal if that’s what a majority in Parliament now want. The conservative Progress Party, not usually in agreement with SV, also wants a re-examination of the costs of the F35s. Other parties are also skeptical, but not sure whether they should call for a probe by Riksrevisjon. The Conservative Party (Høyre) says it would violate parliamentary practice.

Views and News staff