L-001, Denmark’s first F-35 Lightning II production aircraft, flew its inaugural flight on March 8, 2021. Lockheed Martin test pilot Joe “Hooch” Hutcheson was at the controls during the flight, which occurred at the Lockheed Martin facility at NAS Fort Worth JRB, Texas. Hooch took the jet through a series of functional flight checks during a sortie that lasted approximately 90 minutes. Following its maiden flight, the jet will complete a series of company and government checkout flights prior to its acceptance by the Royal Danish Air Force (RDAF). L-001 is scheduled to be delivered to the Royal Danish Air Force next month and will be flown to Luke AFB, Arizona, later this year for pilot and maintainer training.
“Achieving the first flight of Denmark’s first F-35 is major milestone for the Denmark F-35 program and a testament to the outstanding abilities of our dedicated and highly trained joint industry and government team,” said Bill Brotherton, acting F-35 vice president and general manager. “This team’s focus on delivering the most effective, survivable and connected fighter in the world will ensure the sovereign protection of Denmark and strengthen allies and partners through the NATO F-35 coalition.”
The F-35s will arrive in Denmark in 2023 and be based at the Royal Danish Air Force’s Fighter Wing Skrydstrup where it will not only safeguard the sovereign land and skies of Denmark but also its NATO allies. Like the F-16 before it, the F-35 is spearheading NATO’s air power, bringing unprecedented levels of technology to the alliance’s defense capabilities and providing a strong deterrent to emerging threats. The advanced sensors of the F-35 will enhance situational awareness for the entire Danish Armed Forces and strengthen Denmark’s capability to fulfill its NATO Artic and Baltic air policing missions.
The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is an American family of single-seat, single-engine, all-weather stealth multirole combat aircraft that is intended to perform both air superiority and strike missions. Lockheed Martin is the prime F-35 contractor, with principal partners Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems. Its development is principally funded by the United States, with additional funding from program partner countries from NATO and close U.S. allies, including the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Italy, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, and formerly Turkey. The acquisition strategy of concurrent production of the aircraft while it was still in development and testing led to expensive design changes and retrofits.