Denmark's military, which has long had its eyes on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, is pushing the government to step up the pace of procuring new planes to replace its fleet of older F-16s, according to Defense News.
Denmark put their acquisition plans on hold until 2012 but with Denish crews now flying F-16s over Libya the military wants the shopping process to begin now. Ostensibly Denmark is going to look at all of the latest aircraft models avaialbe, such as the Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet and Saab Gripen, but it sure sounds like the F-35 might be the only plane that meets the wish list criteria.
The AFC wants Danish pilots flying international missions over hostile airspace to have access to next-generation stealth fighters with greater firepower that will put them on an equal footing with nations like the U.S. and France.
"Danish pilots need to fly the most modern stealth aircraft into war zones," said Maj. Gen. Henrik Robøe Dam, head of Denmark's Tactical Air Command. "They must not be left feeling vulnerable. When operating in the environment that is packed with anti-aircraft and missile systems, it is important to have everything that helps make you more invisible to the enemy."
While the Danish Air Force's pilots and F-16s are well-trained and equipped to take part in dangerous missions, such as enforcing the no-fly zone over Libya, Air Force participation in overseas missions would benefit from having access to a next-generation stealth fighter, Dam said.
"There is no doubt that if we had the availability of a fighter with stealth characteristics, and difficult to track by radar, it would be a comfort-enhancing factor for pilots," Dam said.
Denmark is one the eight countries to invest in the F-35 development program with a $125 million contribution pledge in 2002 and was expected to buy 48 planes.