After consulting with the Danish Parliament’s Foreign Policy Committee, the government has decided to include the Peter Willemoes and four F-16 fighter jets in NATO missions in the Baltics and Northern Europe. The Danish frigate will strengthen one of NATO’s standing naval forces, Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 (SNMG1), and the four F-16 fighter jets will help maintain sovereignty in NATO airspace over the Baltics. The frigate Peter Willemoes is ready for deployment from mid-January and the four F-16 fighter jets at the end of this month.
Russia’s military build-up at Ukraine’s borders and its tough stance towards NATO have prompted NATO headquarters to request member-state commitments in December to ensure that the alliance has the necessary capabilities at its disposal. Denmark often provides forces for similar tasks, but these are two additional force contributions. In doing so, Denmark is helping to ensure that NATO has the necessary forces at its disposal to deter enemy forces from invading the Alliance’s territory at a time when the situation in Ukraine may threaten stability in Europe.
HDMS Peter Willemoes (F362) is a Iver Huitfeldt-class frigate in the Royal Danish Navy. The ship is named after Peter Willemoes, a 17th-century Danish officer. The frigates are compatible with the Danish Navy’s StanFlex modular mission payload system used in the Absalons, and are designed with slots for six modules. Each of the four stanflex positions on the missile deck is able to accommodate either the Mark 141 8-cell Harpoon launcher module, or the 12-cell Mark 56 ESSM VLS.
The Royal Danish Air Force bought a total of 77 F-16A/B aircraft in 2 major batches and 2 attrition replacement orders. Of these, 48 aircraft and 14 spares, all upgraded to MLU standard, will remain operational until 2020-2025 when they will be replaced by the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Currently the aircraft are being upgraded with the LINK 16 advanced tactical data link, JHMCS (Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System), and an advanced EWMS (Electronic Warfare Management System).