No Danish Fighter Decision in 2009, Postponed Until 2010
(Source: compiled by; posted Oct. 23, 2009)
Denmark has pushed into 2010 a decision on replacing its F-16 fighters, and will buy only 25-35 new fighters, not 48 as previously planned. (no credit available)
Denmark has postponed a decision on its combat aircraft replacement program, initially due at the end of this year, until 2010 at the earliest. The reason for the slippage is a new evaluation of the operational lifespan of the F-16 fighters now in service, showing they can continue operating until 2018 or later.

"I would have liked a political agreement this summer, but we had to postpone, and now it appears that we will get an agreement sometime in the New Year. The most important thing is that we make the right decision, and I must live with the time period sliding. I would hate to be the one who made the wrong decision on the fighter," says Defense Minister Soren Gade.

To date, no favourite has emerged in Denmark, unlike the Netherlands and Norway which have stated their preference for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Politicians must now decide whether to buy the Saab Gripen NG, the Lockheed Martin JSF or Boeing's Super Hornet to replace the current F-16s once they are retired. Deliveries of the new fighters could slip to 2018 or 2020, depending on how long the F-16s can remain in service.

"I have no favorite. Each of the three has its advantages. But you must be deaf, dumb and blind if you do not think it's important for the acquisition that we reduce from 48 to 30 the number of operational aircraft. I reveal no state secrets by disclosing that we will buy more than 25 and fewer than 35 new aircraft. "

Denmark will now probably not buy 48 as previously stated. The Royal Danish Air Force currently has a fleet of 62 F-16 fighters, of which 48 are in first-line service. (ends)

Fighter Jet Decision Postponed – Again
(Source: The Copenhagen Post; issued Oct. 22, 2009)
Another delay in the decision over which planes will replace the military’s F-16 fighter jets does not overly concern the defence minister

Defence Minister Søren Gade said Wednesday that he is planning for the military purchasing between 25 and 35 new fighter jets once a decision is made about which planes to buy.

Gade had wanted a political decision made by the summer, but he now concedes that the soonest an agreement can be reached would be the start of 2010.

He had previously postponed putting the issue before MPs in April, saying at the time he wanted to concentrate on drafting the national defence plan.

“The most important thing is that we make the right decision, so we’ll just have to live with these delays. I certainly wouldn’t want to be the one who makes the wrong decision over purchasing fighter jets,” Gade said.

Top candidates to replace the military’s existing F-16 fighters are Saab’s Gripen, Lockheed Martin’s Joint Strike Fighter, Boeing’s Super Hornet and the European joint project Eurofighter.

Gade himself said he did not have a favourite yet amongst the fighter jet candidates. Whichever plane is chosen, however, the military has estimated the purchase will eventually cost at least 100 billion kroner.

A committee set up in 2007 within the Danish Defence Command has been responsible for evaluating the different models.

But this past February it was reported that the current F-16s still have a considerable number of [flight hours] left in their lifespans. Many politicians have since preferred that the military continue to use the planes as long as possible before the state has to part with such a substantial amount of money.

And although dragging out the decision process has the possible advantage of coaxing manufacturers into lowering the price in an effort to get the military to pull the shopper’s trigger, it is also delaying the many new jobs that would go to companies involved with the manufacture, operation and maintenance of the new planes.

“Companies are butting in front of one another to proclaim the number of jobs an eventual agreement would bring,” said Gade. “So the sooner we decide the sooner we create those jobs.”


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