In Norway, a lawsuit against the ‘overflying F-35s’ has begun

The Royal Norwegian Air Force [RNAF] is enjoying the acquisition of 37 Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighters. Currently, these fighters are the backbone of the Scandinavian country’s air defense. Norway has ordered 52 fighters, so 15 more are still to come.

F-35 will carry solid rocket-ramjet AARGM-ER: INS/GPS, 250km range
Photo credit: USAF

It will be a long time, perhaps years, before the RNAF achieves full operational readiness [POC] of its F-35 fleet. This means that there are many exercises, training, joint engagements with NATO forces, patrols, and air policing to come. And if that’s good for the Norwegian pilots and their “toys”, the landowners around the Ørland fighter base don’t feel that way.

The planes make a lot of noise, our houses shake, and our “chests shake” when the F-35s fly over, say about 200 property owners. They are all neighbors of the Ørland base, around which a defense facility is being built. Property owners feel that the presence of the F-35 in the region “suffers disadvantages” and their prices have fallen dramatically.

Therefore, these 200 neighbors of the F-35 broadcast ten representatives and filed a lawsuit against the state. The case started last Monday, April 17th. The owners decided to take legal steps for a possible response to their satisfaction before the end of 2024 when the RNAF is supposed to receive the remaining 15 fighters.

Cutting-edge engine: third stream of air may power US F-35-F135 engine
Photo credit: Pratt&Whitney

The claims of the owners are: the state should promise them 700-800 thousand Norwegian kroner per property, which makes nearly $77,000 per property. If we assume that 200 properties complain about the presence of the F-35, this means that the gang will have to pay $15.4 million in total [approximate value].

Disgruntled Norwegian residents have already hired a lawyer. He is Arild Paulsen from the law firm Simonsen Vogt Wiig, and according to him, the Norwegian court will have to decide whether there is a basis for compensation.

The married couple Uni and Helge Grande are two of those who are now taking legal action against the state, describing their chests as they tremble and being unable to be outdoors without covering their ears when fighter jets fly overhead.

Homeowner Jens Erik Nesseth tells TV2 there’s no point talking when you’re outside and planes are flying. “You hear noises in the structure of the building when the F-35 is in motion, the walls shaking,” Nesseth says.

The other party in the case, the state, says it disagrees with the claims of the 200 neighbors of the Ørland base. According to the lawyer of the state, the information that property prices have decreased after the arrival of the F-35 in the region is not true. On the contrary, say the defense in the case, property prices have risen precisely because of the arrival of the new flight platforms. The same is claimed by the persons employed to build the defense facilities around the base.

F-35 Lightning II fighter jet
Photo credit: Twitter

“After carrying out a survey of the property market, we believe that the values around the base have actually increased during this period, compared to other areas here,” Forsvarsbygg fighter base project manager Karl Oskar Pedersen told Norwegian media.

According to the Swedish Armed Forces, the F-35, with its unique knowledge, is the best combat aircraft in the world and makes calls and intercepts faster than its predecessor, the F-16. In January 2022, the F-35 took over QRA – Quick Reaction Alert after the F-16.

According to experts involved in measuring the noise of the F-35, the maximum value that this fighter can reach is 115 dB. This is the so-called peak noise level or highest value. That noise level will vary, however, say insiders. They note that variations will depend on distance from the aircraft, weather, and airport acoustics.

There are noise level limits in Norway, as in every country in the world. Oslo has determined that the daily noise level should not be more than 80 dB. But those are limits with eight hours of continuous noise. In Norway, it is allowed to have a peak noise of 150 dB at any one time. Thus, these limits can be used by the state to show that the F-35s do not exceed the peak noise limit.


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