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Luftforsvaret / Royal Norwegian Air Force - History

The first aircraft presented to Royal Norwegian Army in June 1912. Army Flying School established in 1914. Haerens Flyvapen (Army Air Arm) officially formed in 1915. Land acquisition as Norwegian Luftseiladsforening initiated obtained Army the three first airplanes. In autumn 1912 came the start of activities in the fields below Kjeller farm and the first flyskuret was built.

Aircraft industry was started in different premises in Christiania, including tram stables at Sagene. The aircraft was assembled at Kjeller. The first plane was trying flown in May 1913. In 1916, a factory building finished and all building activities transferred to Kjeller. The flight school was established in 1914 and mechanic training also came early start. From 1917, it conducted courses for flyobservatører. Basement was also the base for the operational flyavdelingene son Fjeld. With Aircraft assembly, educational activities and operational training flight in one place, the activity was eventually quite extensive.

The armament policy of Norway and Sweden and the pacifism of Denmark are both dictated by the same motives-namely, the preservation of neutrality. The Scandinavian countries maintained their neutrality in the Great War, not in consequence of armaments, but because in the long run their neutrality was more convenient to the Central Powers and the Allies than their active participation.

To deprive the enemy of the services of aviators and machines and to prevent their use for purposes of advantage now became a prime military necessity with a direct bearing on operations. On 03 May 1915 the Geran naval Zeppelin L-W was forced to descend on the Norwegian coast where it was blown up to preserve neutrality.

By the 1930s aviation technology in the world made such great strides that Norway's own production capabilities not kept pace. The international conditions deteriorated and a new war seemed inevitable. The flight equipment Norway had was disparate and obsolete. A rapid modernization of the Air Force contingent was therefore by the purchase of aircraft from abroad. Some aircraft were acquired in 1938-1939, but it could not be selected from the top shelf. The major powers had to reserve the modern material for themselves.

When the 2nd World War broke out in September 1939, steps were taken to a more comprehensive modernization and development of the Armed Forces. In particular, combat aircraft were favored. Extraordinary allocated funds equivalent to approximately six common annual budgets. With the Europe at war already, the USA is the natural market. Orders were placed for new fighters and light bombers for the Norwegian Army Air Service and new patrolling and bombers to the Navy.

Some of the Army Curtiss Hawk fighters had come to the country when Germany attacked Norway on April 9, 1940, but there was no one to fly them. The rest of the orders could be redirected and formed to some extent "starting capital" when we should create new flyavdelinger out.

Norway's participation in World War II began with the German invasion on 9 April 1940. A handful of dauntless Norwegian pilots, hopelessly outnumbered and equipped with obsolete planes, nevertheless played an important part in slowing down the invasion. King Haakon VII and the Government escaped from Oslo and new headquarters and defence lines were set up.

By the time the resistance in Norway was over, the Norwegian Government-in-exile already had plans for reorganization of the Royal Norwegian Air Force. After active resistance on Norwegian soil came to an end in June 1940, The Norwegian Government-in-exile wanted to establish a training center for the Royal Nowegian Air Force. This resulted in the establishment of "Little Norway" in Toronto.

The Norwegian air force in exile was organized with a training unit in Canada and combat units in Great Britain. Norwegian pilots fled the country and reported for duty.

The air force training camp was officially opened November 10th 1940. The camp was called ”Little Norway” and was placed in the outskirts of Toronto, Ontario. The camp had a crew of approximately 300 men, divided between the Army’s air force and the Navy’s air force. In 1941 these were placed under joint command. The task was to recruit and educate air and ground personnel. After completed training and education in Canada, the Norwegian pilots were transferred to Great Britain for active service in the squadrons.

In May 1941, a holiday and recreational estate for the air force personnel was purchased. It was also placed in Ontario, about 160 kilometers from Toronto, and was of substantial size. After restoring an old timber building, and building of a new one, the estate could house 150 men. It was officially opened by crown princess Märtha 18 January 1942 and was given the name Vesle Skaugum (Little Skaugum).

In 1942 a second training centre was established at Muskoka Airport, 120 miles north of Toronto. Once the Royal Canadian Air Force purchased the Toronto training centre, "Little Norway" was transferred to Muskoka, although the original aerodrome was still at the disposal of the Royal Norwegian Air Force.

The combat units in Great Britain were organized as squadrons. These were organized under the RAF, and were operational parts of this. Squadron 330 (the first squadron) was established in 1941 with a base on Iceland. Then followed squadron 332 and squadron 333, which were localized at Woodhaven in Scotland. From 333, squadron 334 was separated for missions to Norway and Stockholm.

The first Norwegian unit went overseas to Iceland in April 1941. The first all-Norwegian fighter squadron with complete air and ground crew arrived in England in June 1941. A steady stream of airmen received their training at Little Norway, and returned to Europe to fight with distinction alongside Allied forces throughout the war.

The Royal Norwegian Air Force was formed in 1944 by the amalgamation of the Army Air Force (Hærens Flyvapen) and the Naval Air Service (Marinens Flyvevsen), both of which had existed since 1915.

During the Cold War the RNoAF encountered numerous logistical and operational challenges. Since, Norway was strategically located in the northern region next to the former Soviet Union, NATO identified this northern area as one of those where a war between East and West was highly probable. Due to this the RNoAF was given priority in the operational and logistical planning that took place in NATO.

Weapons Help for the Air Force, from the United States.

  • 1950 10 pcs C-47 Douglas Dakota (Skytrain) transport aircraft
  • 1951 6 pcs F-84E Republic Thunderjet fighters
  • 1952 200 pcs F-84g Republic Thunderjet fighters
  • 1953 22 pcs T-33A Lockheed Shooting Star (T-bird) trainer
  • 1954 6 pcs PBY-5A Catalina amphibian Consolidated
  • 1955 64 pcs F-86k North American Sabre-weather fighter
  • 1955 16 pcs L-18C Piper Super Cub observation plane
  • 1956 35 pcs RF-84F Republic Thunderflash reconnaissance aircraft
  • 1956 8 Units C-119g Fairchild Flying Boxcar cargo plane
  • 1957 115 pcs F-86F North American Sabre fighters
  • 1958 4 pieces H-19D helicopters Sikorsky Chickasaw
  • 1960 27 pcs O-1A Cessna Bird Dog observation plane
  • 1961 18 pcs HU-16B Albatross Grumman amphibian
  • 1963 20 pcs F-104G / TF-104G Starfighter Lockheed fighter
  • 1966 64 pcs F-5A / F-5B Freedom Fighter Northrop fighters

One Royal Norwegian Air Force F104-G Squadron was based at Bodo, Norway. During the five years 1964-1969, the Squadron has flown 16,000 hours without a single fatility or major accident. This remarkable accident-free record appears to be due to a combination of many factors, not one new or peculiar factor. Several contingency plans were developed that would direct forces from NATO countries to Norway if a tense situation should arise. In order for Norway to host allied forces dedicated for deployment; it had to develop its infrastructure and logistics capacity to support allied operations from Norwegian territory.

The mission that shaped the RNoAF during the Cold War was the protection of one region of the country. Because of this the air force was centered around the ability to deploy the greatest possible force to defend Norwegian territory in the event of a largescale attack against North Norway. An attack of this kind would require a buildup of logistics and forces by the aggressor in the East where it could be detected, and provided strategic warning. This would make it possible for Norway to conduct mobilization.

During the Cold War, Norwegian forces, in contrast to the US forces, were expected to operate out of their own home bases or preplanned bases in Norway. This led to the development of a stationary logistical organization focused around the existing infrastructure.

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Page last modified: 15-11-2015 20:17:09 ZULU