- Decision still needs final approval from Danish parliament
- Boeing had also competed for Danish order to replace jets
Denmark’s government plans to replace its aging fleet of fighter jets with Lockheed Martin planes in an order worth 20 billion kroner ($3 billion).
The minority government of Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen, which still needs parliamentary approval before the order can be placed, wants to spend the money on 27 F-35 jets to replace old Lockheed Martin F-16s, Defense Minister Peter Christensen and Rasmussen said at a press conference in Copenhagen on Thursday. Boeing had also competed for the deal.
Denmark is revamping its fleet at a time when the “world security map has changed, producing new threats closer to Europe and Denmark,” Rasmussen said, highlighting Russia, the Middle East and Northern Africa as areas for concern.
“We have to look out for our country and our values and we need to do it at home and abroad, requiring us to have robust military capabilities,” he said.
The new fleet is expected to be fully operational by 2027, with funding to run through 2026. Deliveries of the new planes is due to start in 2021. Christensen said the full cost of buying and maintaining the jets is estimated to reach about 56 billion kroner.
In a poll published by Altinget on Thursday, 59 percent of Danes were opposed to the government’s decision to buy new fighter jets.
Peter Juel Jensen, defense spokesman for the ruling Liberal Party, said the government needs to renew its fleet in part to step up defense of its airspace.
“The number of territorial incursions of Danish airspace has doubled in just a few years,” he told Altinget.