The Government of Norway has proposed a 9.8% real terms defence budget increase for 2016, providing additional funding to the country’s air and naval capabilities.

The recently presented 2016 budget proposal suggests enhanced support to the country’s F-35 procurement with an allocation of Nk8.6bn ($934.12m).

Additional funding will enable the country to proceed with the procurement of the F-35 as planned.

In September, Norway officially rolled out its first F-35A Lightning II for The Norwegian Armed Forces.

The country is planning to acquire up to 52 F-35As by 2025. Currently, the country has ten aircraft in various stages of production.

The budget has also proposed additional support for the Norwegian Intelligence Service, the P-3C Orion Maritime Patrol Aircraft and forward deployed submarine patrols.

The priorities are in line with the recommendations made by the chief of defence in his strategic military review, the government stated.

With this development, the defence budget’s share of the country’s GNP is expected to increase to 1.54%.

Norwegian Defence Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide said that the country is required to strengthen its Armed Forces in order to ensure that Norway develops capabilities for the future and also to improve the capacity to deter the use of force against both Norway and the wider Nato-alliance.

"With this development, the defence budget’s share of the country’s GNP is expected to increase to 1.54%."

The proposed addition of Nkr320m ($34.75m) into the navy maintenance budget will reduce the current maintenance backlog on its vessels.

In addition, the new funding will create additional opportunities for the maritime industries on the Norwegian West Coast.

An additional funding of Nkr62m ($6.73m) will allow an Ula-class submarine to be forward-deployed to Ramsund Naval Station.

The proposal also suggests Nkr35m ($3.80m) funding to increase the patrol activity of its submarines and P-3C Orion in the High North.

Image: Norwegian Defence Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide with the Norwegian Armed Force’s first F-35A Lightning II, known as AM-1. Photo: courtesy ofTorgeirHaugaard / Armed Forces.