Norway’s Air Force F-35InternationalIndiaAfricaDisaffected locals living next door to the air base have cited both health problems and financial loss as reasons for their lawsuit.Norway has witnessed the start of a highly unusual trial, in which 220 landowners are suing the state because of unreasonably high noise levels from the Orland air base, where the Nordic country’s entire fleet of F-35 fighter jets is to be located.The lawsuit claims that noise pollution has become significantly worse since the switch from older and less powerful F-16s to F-35s, which were welcomed as the new backbone of the Norwegian Armed Forces.The landowners cite both discomfort and financial loss as their reasons for action. They argued that their properties have been put at a disadvantage and that the value of their land has decreased since the arrival of the new fighter jets. Among other things, they invoke the Neighborhood Act which prohibits causing unreasonable or unnecessary inconvenience to neighboring property.According to lawyer Arild Paulsen from the law firm Simonsen Vogt Wiig, the average compensation claim is approximately NOK 800,000 ($76,500).
The Norwegian state has flatly rejected the plaintiffs’ deterioration claims, with the Norwegian Defense Estates Agency arguing that according to their market research, the properties around the base have actually risen in value.
"Orland has been a military base since the Fifties, that is for the past 70 years. We see it as a continuation of the business that has been going on all these years," the Defense Estates Agency told Norwegian media.
The displeased locals, however, have been complaining of a plethora of issues ranging from “vibration in the chest” when the fighter jets fly over, to having to “cover their ears” while outside.The affected landowners have cited the development of Gardermoen airport in Oslo as a precedent: in that case, residents were ultimately offered compensation, including for inconvenience caused by noise.The plaintiffs also pointed out that never before had almost all of the air force’s activity been gathered in a single place. During the decades when F-16 was the main fighter type, the flights were dispersed between several bases across the country, including Bodo in the North.Norway has bought a total of 52 new F-35 fighter jets, making them the biggest military acquisition in the country’s history. They will not become fully operational until 2025, when the inhabitants of Orland will experience the problem full on.MilitaryDenmark Accused of ‘Carelessness With Taxpayers’ Money’ as F-35 Hangars Double in Price24 March, 06:26 GMTThe F-35, touted as the main 21st-century fighter jet for NATO, has run into noise issues in other countries, as the heavier and more powerful airframes create noise levels that exceed both the military’s own data and those of their predecessors, usually F-16s. Over the years, the trillion-dollar project has run into a range of issues from ballooning costs to delays and technical issues.