TheRoyal Norwegian Air Force has retired its last F-16 fourth generation fighters as its new 5th generation of F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters take over all combat aviation duties.
The Royal Norwegian Air Force has announced its F-16 fighter jets flew their last mission on 6 January before new F-35s take over as the nation’s main fighter platform. After retiring the 4th generation fighters, Norway became the first country to have an air force of all 5th generation fighters.
The replacement fighter model for the F-16 is the American F-35A, the only Western fifth-generation fighter in production, and the only one for export. Like the F-16, it was designed for mass production, with lower production and operating costs to compensate for the weakness of the heavier fighters.
The fifth generation fighters have been in service since December 2005, when the US Air Force launched its first fleet of F-22A Raptor heavy fighters. However, at that time, they were not yet produced on a large scale but had to wait until the mid-2010s.
Because the F-22 is much more expensive to operate than originally planned, production of this fighter model was cut by 75% and finally canceled in 2011, meaning that only 187 F-22 production, while the number of F-35s produced is up to 750, by the end of 2021. But not yet, it is expected that about 2,000 F-35s will be built.