Earlier Friday, Norway placed its first firm order for two F-35 aircraft and said it expects to order another 50 planes for a total procurement cost of $10 billion, the country’s largest ever public purchase.
Norway, which has stood firmly by the program and its order, will receive its first four aircraft by 2016. The remaining 48 would be delivered after 2017.
Norway said it would also begin preparations for the final phase of Joint Strike Missile development after it received U.S. support for the integration of the missile into the F-35.
Lockheed is developing three variants of the F-35 for the U.S. military and eight partner countries, including Britain, Canada, Australia, Italy, Turkey, Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands.
The U.S. military plans to buy 2,443 aircraft while the program’s international partners plan to buy 697.