F-35 Wins Denmark Competition Over Super Hornet and Eurofighter

F-35 Sensor Fusion Flight Test. Source: Lockheed Martin.

Denmark has officially agreed to buy 27 F-35A joint strike fighters to replace its fleet of aging F-16s.

The selection puts an end to Denmark’s delayed fighter modernization decision that was in its early stages in 2010 before economic issues forced Copenhagen to delay this process. It was officially re-launched in 2013, now eyeing only 30 fighters instead of the planned 48.

The main reason for this decision is the fact that the current Danish F-16 fighter aircrafts are nearing the end of their lifespan. In 2020, the Danish F-16 will have been flying for approximately 40 years and there will be significant operational, technical and economic challenges associated with their continued use.

The three fighter candidates in the Danish fighter aircraft selection process were: 

The Eurofighter, developed in a partnership between the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy and Spain. The primary manufacturer behind the Eurofighter is the European company Airbus. The German Federal Ministry of Defence is the supplier of the aircraft on behalf of Germany.

The F-35A Joint Strike Fighter, developed in a collaboration between nine partner countries (the USA, the United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, Australia, Norway, Denmark and Canada). The primary manufacturer behind the Joint Strike Fighter is the American company Lockheed Martin. The Joint Strike Fighter Program Office is the supplier of the aircraft on behalf of the United States.

The F/A-18F Super Hornet, developed in the USA. The primary manufacturer behind the Super Hornet is the American company Boeing. The U.S. Navy International Programs Office is the supplier of the aircraft on behalf of the United States.

In order to provide the best possible basis for a political decision on the fighter aircraft type selection, the three candidates were evaluated within four specific areas: strategic, military, industrial and economic aspects. The evaluations were based on an operational period of 30 years for the new fighter aircrafts (2020-2049). Additionally, the evaluations assumed a continuation of the current tasks and level of ambition of the Danish F-16 fighter capability.

An F-35 aircraft during an Operational Test. Source: Lockheed Martin.

On 9th June 2016 the Danish Government, the Social Democrats, the Danish Social-Liberal Party, Liberal Alliance and the Danish People’s Party entered into an agreement on new fighter aircraft in replacement of the ageing F-16 jets. It was agreed to procure 27 F-35 fighter aircraft, and to finance this procurement within the budgetary framework of the Danish Defence – with the ambition of keeping intact its operational capabilities.

Source:  Danish Department of Defence

Written by Patricia Ruiz

Patricia Ruiz is Environmental and Forestry Engineer and a Supply Chain Management Expert

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