UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!


F-35A - Royal Danish Air Force

On 09 June 2016 the government gained the backing of Socialdemokraterne, Dansk Folkeparti, Radikale and Liberal Alliance to buy 27 new F-35 Joint Strike fighter jets for a total cost of 56.4 billion kroner. Initially, Denmark will purchase 21 of the multi-role fighter jets, and then six more later, when it’s clear the state has enough money in the budget. “This volume will secure that we will be able to perform the same tasks as with our old F-16s today,” Peter Christensen, the defense minister, said. The defense minister said 139 MPs backed the agreement. For the purchase to pay off, each of the 27 planes would have to fly 250 hours a year, which is significantly more than the 160 hours that the F-16s have flown a year.

Konservative and SF were against the deal and left the negotiations. According to Holger K Nielsen from SF, a total of 21 jets would have been enough. “The government assumes that Denmark will participate in missions in which we will directly go and attack another country. Denmark should absolutely not do that,” Nielsen stated. “We should not participate in a new Iraq war. We have to emphasise prevention, foreign aid and non-military conflict resolution.”

Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen announced on 12 May 2016 that Denmark had settled on the F-35A Lighting II in the culmination of a years-long process to replace the nation’s fleet of fighter jets. Denmark's government opted to replace the country's aging air force planes with 27 F-35 fighter jets. The government selected the most advanced, expensive fighter. Every hour the F-35 is in the air is going to cost Denmark's state coffers around 202,000 kroner (some 30,000 dollars), compared to 112,000 kroner for the F/A-18 Super Hornet (17,000 dollars) and 122,000 kroner (18,500 dollars) for the Eurofighter Typhoon.

Since 1980, the Royal Danish Air Force has placed a strong importance on its fighter air fleet. Denmark joined the Joint Strike Fighter program in 2002 during the System Development and Demonstration phase and helped influence technical elements of the F-35 Lightning II. The Danish Air Force contributed an F-16, pilot and maintenance personnel to support the F-35 flight test program at Edwards Air Force Base, CA.

Initially, the purchase of a as many as 48 JSF was contemplated, but by 2014 the number had fallen to 30. If chosen, the F-35A conventional takeoff and landing variant would play an integral role in the Royal Danish Air Force’s future air power. The F-35 is a 5th Generation fighter, combining advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations and advanced sustainment. With air forces across the globe flying the same aircraft, Denmark and its allies can take advantage of advanced fighter technologies and inherent interoperability while leveraging economies of scale to enhance affordability.

The Defence Commission report was reflected with broad political consensus in the Defence Agreement 2010-2014. The report concluded that Denmark must continue to have a combat aircraft capacity, which on a short view is made up of the current F-16 aircraft, but on a longer view will involve the acquisition of new combat aircraft.

The purpose of the process leading towards the type selection is to provide the best possible basis for a political decision on the preferred combat aircraft among the participating combat aircraft candidates. The type selection alone provides the basis for initiating negotiations with the selected candidate regarding a subsequent purchase. It also established the basis, partly of defining the most favourable economic and operational phase-out and phase-in times for combat aircraft, and partly of initiating discussions on multinational cooperation and the level of ambition. In addition to this, the type selection would establish optimal conditions for Danish industry to concentrate its efforts and resources on the full contract potential for one candidate.

The type selection process was estimated to last about two years, before a collective basis for a decision is established. And in continuation of this, there must be the necessary time for relevant political discussions prior to the final type selection. The type selection process must thus be initiated as soon as possible with a view to a political decision on the type selection before the end of June 2015.

There was consensus that combat aircraft acquisition must be kept within the defence budget. An annual DKK 25 million from 2013 to 2014 is earmarked for the implementation of the type selection process, as well as an annual DKK 25 million from 2015 to 2016 for the type selection and acquisition process.

The basis for decision would also contain a number of reports in relation to maintaining the combat aircraft capability based on F-16 aircraft. These include, for example, reports that highlight the feasibility of acquiring new or used F-16 aircraft as well as the feasibility of service life extension and prolonged use of the Danish Armed Forces’ F-16 aircraft, where by modifying their use these aircraft can remain in service for a longer period than the present planning prescribes.

The F-35 was contributing to meaningful and lasting industrial partnerships in Denmark and internationally. Danish industry made contributions to production of the F-35 in the areas of advanced composites, aero structures, machine parts, logistics and wiring harnesses. This work is for the global F-35 fleet, not just the aircraft that Denmark would purchase.

Terma is manufacturing the 25 MM gun pod that will be used on the F-35B and F-35C by the US and other allies. Terma develops products and systems for defense, non-defense, and security applications, including command and control systems, radar systems, self-protection systems for ships and aircraft, space technology, and advanced aerostructures for the international aircraft industry. The company, headquartered at Aarhus, Denmark, has a total staff of 1,000, realized 2012/13 revenues of US$200 million, and maintains international subsidiaries and operations in The Netherlands, Germany, Singapore, India, and in the US.

Terma supplies a variety of products and services for the F-35:

  • Composite Conventional Edges for the Aircraft Horizontal Tails
  • Advanced Lightweight Composite Components for the Center Fuselage
  • Missionized Gun Pods for the STOVL and CV Variants
  • Data Acquisition Pods for Flight Test Instrumentation
  • Air-to-Ground Pylons
  • Radar Electronics.

The Danish defense group Terma entered into a long-term agreement with BAE Systems with a value of more than US$35 million, including follow-on options, for the manufacture of composite parts for the international F-35 Lightning II program. The 18 June 2013 agreement covers the Low Rate Initial Production phases (LRIP) 6-11. The agreement covers the manufacture of Large Composite Skins for the Horizontal and Vertical Tail across all types of the F-35.

Terma collaborated with BAE Systems on the F-35 program since 2006 when the two companies signed a Letter of Intent for future partnership. In 2009 BAE Systems and Terma entered a contract for the delivery of machined parts for the F-35. The partnership between Terma and BAE Systems was strengthened by the long-term agreement, which also positioned Terma as a strong partner for BAE Systems and for the F-35 program as a whole.

Jens Maaløe, President & CEO, Terma, said: “This signing solidifies Terma’s position on the F-35 program and shows how collaboration can benefit Terma, BAE Systems, and the F-35 program as a whole. The companies will explore technologies, set a path forward to achieve manufacturing efficiencies to meet rigorous quality requirements, and work toward establishing Terma as a premier supplier of composite parts.... By entering these agreements, we have established the necessary solid and reliable base for our future investment in technology, production facilities, and human resources”.

BAE Systems F-35 Global Procurement & Supply Chain Director Paul Burns, commented: "We have a long standing relationship with Terma, and the Long Term Agreement we are signing today is testament to their continued performance in support of the F-35 program. The agreement is to manufacture high tolerance Carbon skins and details to support the Aft assembly build in BAE Systems, delivering to the exacting standards this global program demands."

Terma also entered into long term contracts with Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman Corporation for the manufacture of component parts for the F-35 Lightning II program. Terma’s involvement in the F-35 Lightning II program since Denmark entered the program in 2002 comprised eight different production programs within advanced composite structural parts and electronics. To date, Terma’s aggregate order intake relative to the F-35 Lightning II program amounted to approximately US$400 million.

The Danish Defense Ministry's special office for procuring new aircraft has delivered a final and comprehensive analysis, approving the purchase of a batch of Lockheed Martin F-35 stealth multirole fighters from the United States, local media said 28 April 2016. The ministry office, which had spent some nine years studying and assessing Denmark's options in renewing its aging fleet of F-16 fighter jets, chosn Lockheed Martin Aeronautics-manufactured aircraft over Boeing's Super Hornet fighters.

"Under survivability and mission effectiveness, the Joint Strike Fighter comes out better than the two other candidates. This is due to a number of circumstances, including for example the low radar signature of the aircraft as well as the application of advanced systems and sensors that enhance the pilot’s tactical overview and ensure the survival of the aircraft and efficient mission performance. In terms of survivability and mission effectiveness, the Super Hornet does slightly better than the Eurofighter."

As the F-35 will only be fully developed in 2018, there will be a gap of three years, during which Denmark will be unable to execute its international duties, Defense Minister Peter Christensen acknowledged. The new aircraft will only be "fully operational" in 2027, and thus Denmark be unable to play a direct role in international conflicts between 2022 and 2024. A poll conducted for political site Altinget showed that 59 percent of Danish voters disapprove of the huge purchase while just 25 percent think it’s a good idea.

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list

Page last modified: 09-06-2016 16:50:14 ZULU