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Denmark - Air Force / Flyvertaktisk Kommando

The influx of new transport aircraft (Hercules C130 J) and new helicopters (EH 101) increases the capacity of the Air Force to support land-based military operations and humanitarian efforts, just as inspection aircraft (Challenger) give the Air Force sufficient capacity for environmental surveillance and for addressing other domestic needs, including tasks in the North Atlantic region. In addition, upgraded F-16 aircraft continue to constitute a significant capacity compared to the national sovereignty defence (defence readiness) and relevant participation in international operations, including participation in the NATO Response Force. The overall fighter aircraft structure, including the number of operational aircraft, is to be adapted in accordance with actual tasks and with respect to the F-16 aircraft's total lifetime and the possibilities of introducing new fighter aircraft in the long term.

The level of ambition for the Air Force's contribution of fighter aircraft to international operations is fixed at eight fighter aircraft at high readiness and eight fighter aircraft at lower readiness.

NATO's decision to establish a large air operational facility at Karup, which is a significant, high-priority contribution to NATO's air defence capacities, includes a need for continued development of the command organisation of the Air Force, and for the Air Force to make a broadly-scoped contribution to operational personnel and support for the air operational facility.

Danish participation in NATO's Prague Capabilities Commitment concerning air to air refuelling and strategic air transport is to be strengthened. The Air Force's compulsory military service is to be reorganised so that Air Force conscripts will in principle undergo the same training program as Army and Navy conscripts.

In addition, , under the Danish Defence Agreement 2005-2009, the Air Force was reorganised as follows:

  • The land-based air defence system (DeHawk) will be abolished.
  • A staff will be established at the Air Tactical Command that can be detached and deployed autonomously or together with other Danish units.
  • Eight fighter aircraft at high readiness and eight fighter aircraft at lower readiness designated to NATO, which means that - together with aircraft for national task performance - considering the requisite number of training aircraft, the remaining flight time of each aircraft, etc., 48 operational F-16 aircraft will be maintained and organised in two squadrons that are expected to be placed at Skrydstrup Air Base.
  • One transport aircraft at high readiness and an additional two transport aircraft for occasional deployment at lower readiness are to be designated to NATO. The aircraft are part of a transport unit consisting of four transport aircraft and three inspection aircraft based in Aalborg.
  • One transport helicopter unit consisting of four helicopters designated to NATO at high readiness. The contributions are to be part of a helicopter unit consisting of fourteen EH-101 helicopters, which also participate in national rescue efforts, etc. The helicopters are based at Karup Air Base.
  • One helicopter observation and light transport detachment consisting of four helicopters is to be designated for NATO on high readiness. The detachment is part of a helicopter company consisting of eight Fennec helicopters.
  • One mobile air operations facility with long-range radar, based at Karup Air Base and Skrydstrup Air Base, designated to NATO at high readiness. In addition, the overall radar structure consists of one mobile radar (Multebjerg), a stationary air operations facility (Karup) and two stationary radar facilities (Skagen and Bornholm).
  • In addition to this, the following are designated to NATO at high readiness: one unit for establishing airfields, one communication unit, one unit for examining and air-evacuating casualties and a staff unit.
  • The Air Force's Special Training School and the Air Force's Command and Combat Support School are to be amalgamated at Karup Air Base.
  • The primary maintenance of transport aircraft, inspection aircraft and helicopters is to be outsourced, the main workshop at Værløse Air Base is to be closed down and the air base is to be sold.

The total number of permanent Air Force personnel fixed at around 3,400, and the number of response force contracts is set at around 250, for which approximately 2,500 sustainment training days are earmarked each year. The Defence Budget is based on a calculated figure equivalent of some 100 full-time conscripts annually for the Air Force.

In determining the placement of the Air Force's units and commands, priority was given to optimum utilisation of the total available capacity, as the subsequent consolidation may lead to a need for additional changes.

The following equipment is to be procured for the Air Force under the Danish Defence Agreement 2005-2009:

  • One Hercules C-130-J transport aircraft.
  • Electronic warfare systems.
  • Command and control systems for F-16s, etc., (C3I, Link 16).
  • Upgrading of F-16s (M5).
  • Participation in PCC (air to air refuelling and strategic air transport).
  • Mobile control and reporting centre.
  • Participation in NATO's jointly funded capability initiatives (PCC), including Allied Ground Surveillance and AWACS.
  • Denmark continues to participate in the Joint Strike Fighter project.

Danish Fighter Replacement Program

Denmark is choosing among the F-35, F-18 Super Hornet, and the Tyhoon to replace its aging fleet of F-16s). Norway's decision could be influential for Denmark's decision. Denmark's ongoing competition for a follow-on fighter aircraft was a potential issue which may be affected by Nordic Defense cooperation (NDC). Denmark has been the least active of the Nordic countries on NDC. This stems from a different political outlook, resistance to the idea of cooperation with Sweden and possibly even to Norway's FM personal dislike of Denmark's FM. Denmark appeared to have structured its defense to prioritize cooperation with the US, the UK, the Netherlands and Germany. Denmark was also an awkward partner within the EU, as its EU defense "opt-out" precluded it from taking part in ESDP military (but not civilian) missions with other EU member states.

Denmark's government tends to be less focused on the Nordic region, making Nordic cooperation less appealing to the Danes and cooperation with Denmark less appealing to other Nordics. When it looks northward these days, Danish security policy is more likely to be focused on the Danish territory of Greenland. The Danes convened a conference of polar states to tamp down what they saw as an increasingly competitive streak in the Arctic, punctuated by the Russian flag planting on the North Pole sea bed. The Danes are thus more likely to view Nordic defense issues through a particularly Arctic lens, with an emphasis on more prosaic matters like Arctic search and rescue and protection of sea routes and fishing beds.

The Danish political decision of 24 March 2010 resulted in the postponement of the Danish Fighter Replacement Program and Type Selection. At that time the candidates were: Boeing - F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet, Lockheed Martin - JSF Joint Strike Fighter, F-35 Lightning II; and the SAAB - Gripen NG, Next Generation. The Danish government was then expected to revisit the FRP by 2012.

As a consequence, the safeguarding of Danish defence industry´s future interest in the project has been restructured. Danish Industry Fighter Aircraft Team (DIFAT) was launched at the founding general assembly on November 11, 2010. DIFAT´s main areas of operation were gathering information on the candidates and opportunities for cooperation with the potential suppliers, and making the information available to the DIFAT membership, setting up events with a view to pursuing opportunities relevant to the Danish Fighter Replacememnt Program and assisting the DIFAT membership in relation to the Danish Fighter Replacement Program whenever possible.

By April 2011 Eurofighter had formally rejoined Denmark's delayed Fighter Replacement Program (FRP) contest, having indicted its intention during a meeting with the Danish legislature's Parliamentary Defense Committee in December 2010.

On 21 July 2014 Lockheed Martin, Airbus and Boeing submitted binding documents in a tender to supply Denmark with up to 30 fighter jets. Saab did not bid in the tender. SAAB chose to withdraw Gripen out of the Danish combat aircraft as they believed that the F-35 had already won. Submitting binding information to the government is a step in the process of trying to win the tender. Danish politicians were expected to begin discussions on who should win the tender in mid-2015. The purchase of new fighter aircraft with a value of 30 billion crowns is so sensitive that politicians are trying to avoid a public debate.

By mid-2015 a type of selection expected to be taken, and by the year 2020 the first aircraft was scheduled for delivery.

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