Norway – a preferred destination for allied defence and space investments.
The defence industry in Norway has a long tradition of delivering specialised, leading-edge niche solutions for larger systems of key defence material suppliers based in allied nations. At the same time, it has for decades been a destination for foreign direct investment on the part of defence and security industry players.
The attractiveness of Norway as destination for defence and security industry investments has its roots in the country’s trusted role, especially as a NATO ally. In addition, Norway's rugged and harsh maritime conditions have led to the development of special competence areas and ecosystems that are able to complete allied defence industry players’ capabilities – instead of competing with them.
Thus, with a very strong and stable export share of 80 per cent, Norway’s defence and security industry has become an assured partner in an allied context.
Key areas of competence, which are aligned with the Norwegian government’s goals to develop its industry base defined in White Paper No. 17 (2020-21), are:
Furthermore, a trusted public-private platform for collaboration around the development of new defence capabilities, the triangular cooperation (or trekantsamarbeidet in Norwegian) between the defence industry based in Norway, the Norwegian Armed Forces and the Defence Research Establishment (FFI) adds to the attractiveness of Norway as destination and offers opportunities and openings to facilitate relevant dual-use applications in a defence context.
Here, existing and upcoming acceleration programmes in either a national (ICEWorx) or allied (NATO DIANA) context offer developers of new, innovative relevant solutions a door into spheres where these capabilities are tested and enhanced. This defence innovation system can, as a consequence, mean a direct – or through a reference – contribution to indirect market access.
Based on a special assignment of the Norwegian Ministry of Defence and strong, strategic collaboration with all relevant ecosystems and bodies within the field (such as the Defence and Security Industry Association (FSi), the Defence Research Establishment (FFI), the Norwegian Armed Forces and members of Team Norway that are relevant for defence and security industry), Innovation Norway offers potential foreign direct investors in its defence and security industry landscape guidance and door-opening services to smoothe the way to a positive decision and successful investment in Norway.
Our well-performing export support tools specifically for the defence and security industry offer strong support to companies seeking Norwegian access to a demanding allied market. Last, but not least, Innovation Norway’s financial tools can provide support for development and longer-lasting market ramp-up phases to companies based in Norway, including suitable foreign direct investment objects.
The Norwegian space industry today consists of around 40 large and small companies spread throughout the country. They develop and produce everything from terminals for satellite communications to flower pots for plant research in space, and sell services from Antarctica in the south to Svalbard in the north.
The turnover is approximately NOK 8 billion annually.
After flying under the radar for decades, Norway’s space industry is rocketing into the limelight. In 2022, Norway will open the first launch base for satellites on the European continent.
The spaceport is a part of Norway’s foray into New Space, the emerging commercial space industry. Andøya Space, a Norwegian aerospace company, is establishing a launch site for small satellites at Andøya in Northern Norway. This will make Norway one of the few countries worldwide to have a spaceport on their own territory.
Moreover, Andøya’s remote location on the coast, 300 km within the Arctic Circle, is a perfect starting point to reach the polar and sun-synchronous orbits used by small satellites. In these orbits, satellites can serve a variety of commercial and scientific purposes, from earth observation to marine surveillance and telecommunications.
Telecommunications is the largest field in the Norwegian space industry. Companies have conducted experiments with communication and broadcasting via satellite to Svalbard and the North Sea since as early as the 1970s.
One of the other large space companies in Norway is Kongsberg Defence and Aerospace (KDA). Through its subsidiaries Kongsberg Satellite Services and Kongsberg Spacetec, the company is among the leaders in services related to ground stations and satellite data. Today, Kongsberg Satellite Services operates a worldwide network of ground stations for satellites, including on Svalbard and in Antarctica. The company also supplies high technology to NASA and ESA, among others.
A high-cost country like Norway cannot compete with low-cost countries like China and India in the production of components, but when it comes to high technology and specialist expertise, engineers in Norway are no more expensive than engineers elsewhere in the world. It is in such fields that Norway can compete in the space industry. Several Norwegian companies have further developed technology or services that were originally intended for use offshore for space technology. The interaction between the offshore industry and the space industry can also go the other way.