OSLO (Reuters) - Norway’s Labour-led government proposed on Friday to buy four new C-130J Hercules cargo planes built by Lockheed Martin (LMT.N) for about 3.6 billion Norwegian crowns ($597 million), officials said.
“A quick procurement will give us an operative aircraft capacity from autumn 2009,” Defence Minister Anne-Grete Stroem-Erichsen said in a statement.
“The defence forces have a great need for flexible and secure transport aircraft capacity, especially in Afghanistan,” she said.
Norway has about 600 soldiers serving with the NATO stabilization force in Afghanistan.
The new aircraft are expected to replace Norway’s aging Hercules C-130H planes.
The proposal has caused tension among the three-party governing coalition where the two junior partners, the Socialist Left (SV) and Center parties, opposed the plan but had to yield to the Labour party, Norwegian media have reported.