Fantastic air-to-air shots of the first Norwegian F-35 during test flight

Here’s the Royal Norwegian Air Force F-35A.

The following images show the F-35A AM-1 5087, the first Royal Norwegian Air Force Lightning II aircraft during some of the first test flights it conducted in October from Lockheed Martin’s Fort Worth facilities.

The aircraft was rolled out on Sept. 22 and along with other 51 F-35s it is expected to replace the Royal Norwegian Air Force ageing F-16s.

RNoAF F-35

The second Norwegian JSF, known as AM-2, is scheduled to be delivered to the RoNAF later this year.

RNoAF F-35 2

The two F-35s will be based at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, where they will be used for Norwegian and partner country pilot training.

RNoAF F-35 3

RNoAF F-35 4

Image credit: Lockheed Martin


About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


  1. Beautiful pictures! When you look at the RAM coatings, the sleek shape, the saw-pattern radar-scattering edges on top of the fuselage, everything smooth and flowing throughout the entire airframe (no rivets or sharp protruding edges), then you can see why radar just washes over the fighter like water on a waxed surf-board. Little to nothing to reflect back radar energy. Truly a cutting-edge machine. Glad to see the Norwegians, Italians, and other international partners flying them!

      • Even today, the Russians has not made a stealth aircraft with very low
        RCS. The PAK FA has very poor stealth profile. Poorer than a B-2.

        Radar Cross Section:
        F-22 = 0.0001 m2
        F-35 = 0.0006 m2
        B-2 = 0.001 m2
        F-117 = 0.025 m2
        PAK FA = 0.100 m2

        QUOTE: “Russians and Indians have been doing a lot of tinkering since
        the first T-50 flew. While the T-50 is the stealthiest aircraft the Russians have,
        it is not nearly as stealthy as the F-22, or even the F-35 or B-2. ”


        My God! the PAK FA is even less stealthier than the F-117 which came out in the 1980s.

        • just think about it – rcs is optimized for x-band and some minor l-band wavelenghts – but rcs real value is derived from all radar, IR, and lidar bands

          if the f-22 had the advertized x-band 0,000001 m² rcs (-60 dBsm) of a steel marble below insect size than nothing would stop it, but several times the f-22 was detected by new counter stealth radars and other methods

          so the real rcs is not just the x-band optimized front aspect/all aspect rcs but everything including heat and sound from engine and air friction – that is why i only use the word “stealth” for AIP submarines who are at the moment “invisible”

          for f-22, f-35, PAKFA, Typhoon etc. i use the word “low observable”

          hope now you understand :)

      • The problem with Putin fans, is that they believe their own troll’s propaganda against the F-35.

        Do you really believe that Lockheed, the makers of the F-22 and SR-71, will make a 5th gen stealth jet that is less maneuverable than an F-16?

        The real story:

        The F-16 test was not to determine who is king; it was a test to see if the F-35 could safely do specific dog-fighting maneuvers. Once certain safety and performance benchmarks are reached on specific maneuvers, more agility can be programmed into the flight controls. There will be many of these test flights with the F-16. These tests allows the programmers to tweak the FBW system to it’s optimum performance.

        Flight testing with the smaller and very maneuverable F-16 should give you a clue to what is expected from the F-35.

        Supercomputer simulations determined the shape of the F-35. It’s AOA is higher than an F-18 or any 4th gen aircraft. When the FBW system is done, you can expect the F-35 to be even more maneuverable than the F-16 and as deadly as the F-22.

        Do not believe Putin’s trolls. They are trying their best to get the F-35 cancelled. They did the same thing with the F-22. They where partially successful because the Raptor only went to limited production.

        The US does not need to troll the PAK FA. The Indians has already revealed that it’s too expensive (more than $100 million), has poor stealth RCS, has bad engines, less capable radar, and not as maneuverable as advertised.


        Even the Russian Air Force has little faith on the PAK FA. They reduced orders from 115 units, to only 12 units. Without large orders, the PAK FA is as good as cancelled.

        F-35 orders has reached more than 3000 units, from 12 of the best Air Forces of the world.

    • Except for that transparent multi-pane “thingee” under the fuselage beneath the nose, which will reflect back radar signals like a Greyhound bus. That’s why I was wondering if it was something just for use during training and not for operational use.

      • Nope.

        That “thingee” is EOTS and the panes are sapphire, and will NOT reflect radar signals “like a Greyhound bus”….

        I suspect ALL the engineers on the F-35 program thought of the LO characteristics of it…

  2. What is the transparent multi-pane “thingee” under the fuselage beneath the nose? Some training device?

  3. If it had taken the Supermarine Spitfire and the Hawker Hurricane as long to achieve this “feat”, they would have been ready in the 50s for the Korean war. Unfortunately, they would have been built at Castle Bromwich by Messerschmitt…

    OK, the F-35 is way more sophisticated. Unless I missed some serious first page headlines, I cannot remember ever having read that the constructors of the following planes boasted that their fighter could shoot while flying : F-14, F-15, F-16, the 18, F-22, Mirage III, F, V, 2000, Rafale, Gripen, Typhoon, Mig and Sukhoi (add the numbers according to your tastes). There were small items about the shooting of a missile, a special laser-guided bomb etc… but shooting while flying, never.

    What will be the next headline ?

    Our plane can take off, fly and land ? Nope, it has already done that.

    • The gun is relatively low on the list of priorities–if this were a more complex task, then it would have taken even longer, and if it were high-priority then it could have been done a lot sooner, but nobody really cares as long as it gets done before the F-35 enters service. I’ve seen other reports of weapon integration testing on specific aircraft, first on the ground and then in the air, as always. If there is a reason for it to seemingly be a bigger deal for the F-35 than usual, then it might be to counter all of the unusual front-page negativity surrounding this fighter. For example, other fighters have had issues with ejection seats before–often far more serious–but that didn’t make headline news, while the F-35’s did. Why is that? Answer this first before questioning any positive news regarding progress.

      The purpose of testing is to find problems, and then these problems are fixed–it’s called engineering, and it has happened and will continue to happen with any and every system that has been or will ever be developed. In fact, in some previous American fighters, multiple pilots had actually died before their ejection seat problems were realized and fixed. At least one potential source of injury was found during testing this time, and Martin-Baker, one of the premier ejection seat manufacturers in the world, already has several solutions to try–the problem will be fixed, as will the problem with the weight of the helmet. The American teen-series of fighters had crashed multiple times during development due to defects in design and manufacturing, but people don’t seem to care, remember, notice, or know in the first place. There was a reason the F-16 was called the “lawn dart” and this nickname was not affectionate. The F-14 had issues with exploding pipes due to a poor choice of materials, as I recall. If the F-35 had had so much trouble, it would have been cancelled outright some time ago.

      I fully realize that the F-35 program has been badly mismanaged, resulting in delays and higher costs, but the only reason for such a big deal being made of its problems, which are common for systems of this complexity (actually, the teen-series fighters were worse, to my recollection–this just wasn’t front-page news), is negative political propaganda from its enemies both within the US and probably from other countries as well. This propaganda has worked extremely well, especially since most people are not engineers (I am) and haven’t the foggiest clue of what it’s like to develop something like this. Even engineers have a tendency to be overly optimistic in terms of the problems they’ll encounter, but in the big picture it’s nothing new or unique to the F-35.

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