According to Olav Torp, professor of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), there is a huge difference between the two figures, which possibly implies extra defense expenditure.
The Norwegian defense was therefore left with a 50 percent probability that the overall price tag for the much-debated fighter jets will exceed the frame, set by parliament. During the dispute over the expensive fighter jets, Liberal deputy Ola Elvestuen asked the Defense Minister to "calm down" on her shopping trips to the United States. So far, 22 aircraft have already been ordered. According to him, the purchase of the next 18 jets must be postponed until the Defense Ministry sets things straight.
"First we have to get costs under control. Søreide's comparison of P50 and P85 is no trifling matter, as the two figures are not comparable. When P50 seems almost on par with P85, in reality it means a significant cost increase," Elvestuen told Dagbladet, citing risks of the situation spinning out of control amid a strong dollar.
In June, the Norwegian government presented its long-term plan for the military update. The biggest priorities were stated as combat aircraft and submarines, at the expense of the army and the national guard, which triggered many angry reactions among high-ranking military officials and security experts for weakening Norway's overall defense potential.
Earlier, Norwegian newspaper Klassekampen revealed that Søreide had lost an internal party struggle and was forced to make do with 41 billion NOK (roughly $5 billion) less than she had asked for the fighter jet purchase. Curiously, Søreide defended her choice with fears of an increased dependence on NATO.
"When things get more expensive than expected, you end up in a jam, and cuts will occur where possible. After all, it's our army power," Elvestuen said, stressing the need for new artillery and upgraded combat vehicles, as well as preserving both the coastal guard and the national guard.
The overall price tag for Søreide's defense plan for 2015-2035 is 12 billion NOK (roughly 1.5 billion) cheaper than Stoltenberg's. Additionally, there is a marked difference in priorities, as Søreide's clearly prioritizes navy and air force above the rest of the military branches.