The Ministry of Defense of Denmark last week received with open arms the first four F-35A fighters of the 27 ordered from the American manufacturer Lockheed Martin in an operation costing 2.2 billion dollars. The aircraft were ordered by the Danish government in 2016 to progressively replace the fleet of thirty F-16 Fighting Falcons since they have been in use for more than 40 years.
The replacement operation will last until 2027 and the second batch of F-35 aircraft is scheduled to arrive in the fall of 2024 instead of next spring due to delays due to problems with the configuration of Tech Refresh 3 (TR-3) hardware updatesDefense 24 reports.
In fact, in addition to the four F-35s that are already in the Danish Skrydstrup base, headquarters of the Air Force, the small EU country has received a total of 10 aircraft to date, six of which remain at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona, supporting activities to train Danish pilots. Danish pilot training began in the United States in 2020 and the first flight of a Danish pilot took place in January 2021 with a US Air Force unit.
Danish Defense Minister Troels Lund Poulsen took delivery of the first four fighter jets at Skrydstrup airbase in southern Jutland. “A new era begins here, this is where the first F-16 aircraft landed in 1989, and now, after 43 years, we have welcomed the F-35 aircraft,” proclaimed the head of the Defense portfolio. The F-35A arrived in Denmark after a flight with a stopover in the Azores led by three American pilots and one Danish pilot.
What Denmark will do with its old F-16s
Many of The old F-16s that Denmark wants to retire will be destined for Ukraine as announced by the Danish government. At least 19 of the thirty vintage fighter jets will end up in the hands of the Ukrainian Armed Forces after the Pentagon has given approval to the operation. The condition for Copenhagen to deliver its old F-16s to kyiv was to receive the first F-35s first. The estimates made by the Danish Prime Minister, Mette Frederiksen, is that at the end of this year the first six F-16s could be delivered to Ukraine. In fact, the training of Ukrainian pilots and technical personnel for the war against Russia.
Many of the countries that already operate Lockheed Martin’s stealth fighter besides Denmark include Australia, the Netherlands, Israel, Japan, South Korea, Norway, the United States, the United Kingdom and Italy. Poland, Canada and Greece have already placed their orders. Thailandon the contrary, requested the purchase of the F-35 but the US rejected the sales proposal to the small Asian country.
Israel, for its third squad
At the beginning of September, the Israeli Ministry of Defense announced that it has begun the process of purchasing the third squadron of 25 F-35 aircraft, increasing its fleet to 75 fifth-generation aircraft. As announced by Israel, aircraft deliveries to the local Air Force will begin in 2027, at a rate of three aircraft per year, so the third squadron will probably be completely ready by the end of 2035 after an outlay of $3 billion. This operation involves the direct participation of the Israeli military industry in the manufacture of the fighter, whose main contractors are Lockheed Martin and the engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney.