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12 May 2016

Denmark to Choose the F-35?

It is reported today that the Danish government will recommend that parliament approve the purchase of 27 Lockheed Martin F-35A LIGHTNING II aircraft.

The F-35 was chosen over Boeing’s Super HORNET, despite Boeing's aggressive advertising campaign and concerns about the F-35’s stability; and the Eurofighter TYPHOON.

Denmark’s Defence Minister Peter Christensen said that the total lifetime costs of the new fleet would cost DKK56.4 billion, but a recent Danish radio report indicated the total cost for 28 fighter aircraft over a 30-year lifespan including equipment and maintenance could run as high as DKK100 billion.

The purchase of a new fleet of fighter jets has been on the agenda of Denmark’s MoD for almost a decade. The purchase was supposed to have been completed by 1 July 2015, and although the government is finally due to make its final recommendation, a new political likely awaits over the final number of jets that will be purchased. Upon the news of the government’s final pick, support party the Conservatives immediately said that there should be at least 30 jets while the left-wing Socialist People’s Party countered that Denmark should only purchase 18-24. Denmark currently has a fleet of 30 F-16 fighters that have been in service since 1980.

The F-35A fighter, which would replace the F-16 and is still in development, are expected to be ready by 2027. Denmark is one of nine partner countries (the US, UK, Australia, Turkey, Italy, Norway, the Netherlands, Israel, South Korea, and Japan), who are helping pay for the fighter’s development, and would be the 11th country to buy the radar-evading aircraft.

Danish Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen called a press briefing for Thursday at 0800 GMT on the issue, but the government declined to further comment. The recommendation, first reported by Denmark's TV2 News, will be followed by a public comment period of 30 days.