'Norway’s new F-35 fighter jets boast an impressive array of high-tech gadgetry, but Norwegian defense officials were surprised to learn of one unadvertised feature: the pricey plane relays sensitive data back to its US manufacturer, Lockheed Martin.
The Royal Norwegian Air Force recently received the first three of the 40 F-35 fighter jets it ordered from Lockheed Martin. Major General Morten Klevar, the director of Norway’s F-35 program, has described the fabled fighter jet as “crucial to the continued modernization of our armed forces and our ability to preserve Norwegian and allied security and interests.”
But while pouring billions of dollars into the troubled jet, the Scandinavian nation may have got more than it bargained for.
Norway is the first foreign country to acquire the F-35 mission data file from the US Air Force’s (USAF) 53rd Electronic Warfare Group’s Partner Support Complex – software which allows the aircraft to perform its primary missions and provides the pilot with “an extraordinary situational awareness”. But Norwegian defense officials soon discovered that their fancy fleet of F-35s also automatically transmit sensitive data to Lockheed Martin’s servers in Fort Worth, Texas, after each flight.
“Due to national considerations, there is a need for a filter where the user nations can exclude sensitive data from the data stream that is shared by the system with the manufacturer Lockheed Martin,” said Defense Ministry senior consultant Lars Gjemble, as cited by Norway’s ABC Nyheter.'
Read more: It flies, and it snoops: Norway’s pricey F-35s caught sending ‘sensitive data’ to US
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