Norway's first P-8 Poisedon landed at Evenes Air Base
Norway's first new P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft touched Norwegian ground for the first time at 21:30 Norwegian time on Thursday 24 February 2022.
"It has been a very nice and long flight with Norwegian crew, for the first time on a Norwegian P-8 aircraft. The transfer from Seattle, USA went very well, and now we look forward to working further with testing and evaluation of the aircraft, get the organisation in place, and eventually receive our next aircraft, so that the aircraft system will be operational at the planned time, says Per Jørgen Tiller, commander of 333 Squadron at Evenes Air Base.
Thursday's long-awaited arrival of the state-of-the-art maritime patrol aircraft, named "Viking", marks a historic milestone. In total, Norway has bought five P-8 Poseidon aircraft. They will take over for today's P-3 Orion and DA-20 in Norway.
"This is a major goal that we have been working towards for a long time. For two years, we have been working on project “Evenes airport”. It is great to finally get this aircraft home to Norway, says Eirik Guldvog, head of 133 Air Wing in the Royal Norwegian Airforce.
Earlier this year, the Norwegian F-35 took over the QRA mission for NATO from the same base. Until then, Norway's now-retired F-16 had solved the QRA mission from Bodø Air Base.
Great technological leap
The new P-8 Poseidon will start patrolling Norway's vast maritime areas in 2023. The main task of the P-8 Poseidon is to ensure maritime surveillance and to build situational awareness and understanding in the northern areas.
Both the current P-3 Orions, and the coming P-8 Poseidon are absolutely essential in this important mission. Future martiime patrol operations out of Evenes is an investment in the defence capability in the north, which is of great importance to both Norway and NATO, adapted to the current threats we are facing.
"The reception of the first maritime patrol aircraft is an important event for Norway and NATO, and will give us a modern and important capacity in the north. Together with our F-35s, the Norwegian Armed Forces will have two strategically important capacities, working together in defending Norway," says Major General Rolf Folland, Chief of the Royal Norwegian Air Force.
The personnel at Andøya Air Base will continue Norway's MPA missions with P-3 Orion until P-8 is ready to take over from 2023 on. Until then, 133 Air Wing and the 333 Squadron will launch a major test and evaluation programme.
"Many employees, both internally and externally in the sector, have worked extremely hard to facilitate the reception of P-8 Poseidon. A big thank you to everyone who has taken part in this", say air wing commander Guldvog.