Danish F-35s Could Arrive Later Than Expected

F-35
March 13, 2024 Topic: Security Region: Americas Blog Brand: The Buzz Tags: F-35F-35 Joint Strike FighterMilitaryDefenseNATO

Danish F-35s Could Arrive Later Than Expected

NATO member-state Denmark is considering repatriating some of its F-35 Joint Strike Fighters currently used for pilot training in the U.S. 

NATO member-state Denmark is considering repatriating some of its F-35 Joint Strike Fighters currently used for pilot training in the U.S. 

Danish Defense Minister Troels Lund Poulsen on March 12 asked the Danish Armed Forces to prepare for a temporary repatriation of F-35 aircraft from a joint training facility at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, Bloomberg first reported. Several European nations who operate the F-35 have aircraft based at Luke AFB to support pilot training.

The news comes amid concerns in Copenhagen about potential delays to the delivery of new fifth-generation stealth fighters. It is unclear whether Lockheed Martin can meet the July deadline for the delivery of Denmark's newest aircraft.

The Danish Armed Forces is also exploring opportunities to purchase or borrow F-35s from other nations.

Danish F-35s

Last fall, Lockheed Martin officially handed over the certificate of ownership for Denmark's F-35s to the Danish Ministry of Defense Acquisition and Logistics Organization. More than 450 Danish and allied government, military, and industry leaders gathered at Skrydstrup Air Base, Denmark, to commemorate the milestone, and more than 10,000 local citizens participated in the Royal Danish Air Force's public open house.

Copenhagen has taken delivery of ten F-35s to date. Four of them are now at Skrydstrup Air Base. Six are stationed at Luke AFB, where Danish pilots and maintainers conduct training. 

Denmark plans to purchase a total of twenty-seven F-35s. Its fleet of the multirole aircraft is meant to play a pivotal role in bolstering NATO's collective resilience in the Baltics and strengthening the alliance's ability to deter and defend against threats across all domains.

F-35

Denmark is the 10th country and the fifth European NATO member-state to operate the F-35 from its home soil. It played a critical role in the F-35 program. Denmark joined the program in 2002 as a partner during the System Development and Demonstration phase, strategically influencing technical elements of the program. 

The Royal Danish Air Force also contributed a Danish F-16 to the Joint Strike Fighter 461st Flight Test Squadron at Edwards Air Force Base, California. It served as a chase plane for the F-35 Development, Test & Evaluation program. Danish industry has also contributed to F-35 production, development, and sustainment activities and today is building parts and components for the aircraft.

F-35

Replacing the F-16

Copenhagen's need for the F-35 comes as Denmark and the Netherlands formally announced they will supply F-16 Fighting Falcons to Ukraine. The Royal Danish Air Force has thirty F-16s in service and pledged to provide Kyiv with 19 of the American-made F-16s later this year. It was reported earlier this month that the first of those aircraft could be in Ukraine by this summer.

Author Experience and Expertise: Peter Suciu 

Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu. You can email the author: [email protected].