The Royal Danish Air Force (Flyvevåbnet, RDAF) will take delivery of its first F-35 fighter jet. The aircraft will remain in the U.S. where it will be employed for pilot and maintainer training under the auspices of the U.S. Air Force’s 308th Fighter Squadron, part of the 56th Fighter Wing. The Royal Danish Air Force (RDAF) expects to receive its first F-35A on home soil in 2023. Flight operations are due to commence there in 2023, as deliveries run through to 2026. Denmark flew its first F-35 Lightning II production aircraft ‘L-001’ around mid-March. It became the fifth European NATO nation to be armed with the F-35 alongside the UK, the Netherlands, Norway and Italy.
In 2005 the RDAF requested information about the possible procurement of a replacement for the F-16 fighter aircraft from the producers of the Gripen, Rafale, Eurofighter and F-35. Due to this fact Rafale-producer, Dassault Aviation, decided not to participate in the information round as they considered it to be biased towards the F-35 option. This also led to the withdrawal of the Eurofighter in 2007, reentering in 2012. Meanwhile, the Boeing F-18 Super Hornet entered the competition in 2008. After several delays, a request for binding information was sent to the four candidates in April 2014 expecting a final decision in mid-2015. On 9 June 2016, the Danish Defence Committee agreed to purchase 27 F-35As to succeed the F-16. The price tag is US$3 billion.
Denmark is strengthening NATO’s 5th generation airpower foundation. Like the F-16 before it, the F-35 is spearheading NATO’s air power and ensuring strategic integration of allied combat airpower. The vital interoperability of the 5th Generation F-35 binds 13 allies and partners with the United States in air dominance and enabling critical joint capabilities. The F-35 will serve as a force multiplier for Denmark, allowing the Royal Danish Air Force to train and fight alongside NATO allies and create a strong deterrent. F-35s will arrive in Denmark in 2023 and be based at Royal Danish Air Force’s Fighter Wing Skrydstrup where it will safeguard the skies over Denmark and its NATO allies.