A core team consisting of ten people will be assigned 10,000 working hours to estimate the price of the F-35 aircraft after a Norwegian newspaper alleged in April that the government inflated the cost of the fighters by NOK 16 billion (almost $1.9 billion).
Frank Bakke-Jensen, the country’s defense minister was put to task by Nowegian parliament's control and constitutional committee to evaluate the price of the fighters based on the current dollar exchange rate after the newspaper Bergens Tidende, claimed that the government paid nearly $2 billion extra over 2012’s estimation of the jets.
“The whole process is time-consuming (about 5 months). It involves both Norwegian and American actors. The resources for carrying out the annual uncertainty analyses are estimated at about 10,000 working hours” Bakke Jensen wrote back, according to Dagbladet newspaper.
According to Jensen, this task requires a core team of about ten people working throughout the year, while the most labour-intensive analysis takes about 30 people.
“Uncertainty analyses require a lot of time and effort. It also requires cooperation from the Ministry of Defence, the Air Force, the Defence Research Institute, the Defence Logistics Organisation, and the Defence Material Agency,” he explained.
“We will submit the parliament an updated estimate,” he said, adding that it was not possible to do that before next year's budget is ready.
According to Sputnik, the operating costs for the F-35 is about NOK 110,000 ($13,000) per hour. Complete education for a pilot costs about NOK 60 million ($7 million).
Norway has placed an order for 52 Lockheed Martin jets to replace its ageing F-16 fleet. The selection of the fighter was announced in November 2008 by the then Prime Minister of Norway, Jens Stoltenberg.
The country has thus far received nine F-35 aircraft, with an average price tag of NOK 1.375 billion (roughly $160 million) apiece.