Denmark's 27 Lockheed Martin F-35 combat aircraft, plus engines, simulators, spare parts, support equipment and more, will cost 16,374.4 million Danish krona ($2.60 billion), according to the document submitted on Wednesday morning by Danish Defense Minister Claus Hjort Frederiksen to Parliament's Finance Committee.
"The Ministry of Defense hereby requests the Finance Committee's commitment to use up to 16,374.4 million DKK in the period 2018-2027 for the acquisition of 27 F-35A combat aircraft, including aircraft, engines, simulators, spare parts for pool purchases, support equipment and mission-specific equipment, IT, modifications and updates as well as expenses for the program organization, material procurement and construction work at Skrydstrup air base," the document states.
This request is likely to be discussed at the committee’s meeting next Thursday. It is only once approved by the Finance Committee that the money will be formally awarded from the treasury.
Page three of the document states what exactly Denmark plans to buy:
"Construction costs for material acquisitions, etc. of 16,160.4 million DKK covers over the purchase of 27 aircraft and 4 advanced simulators for training pilots, corresponding to 13,133.6 million DKK in the period 2018-2026 (cf. Table 3)
In addition, due for mission-specific equipment (necessary for the installation of bombs and missiles on the aircraft), electronic warfare equipment, advanced helmets and pilot equipment, as well as large parts of the overall support equipment requirements, including, for example, aircraft testing equipment and technical installations for the operation and use of the aircraft.
In addition, IT and communications equipment and deployable IT container facilities are purchased for communications. These expenses are expected to amount to a total of 1,151.0 million DKK (cf. Table 3).
The construction costs also include an initial payment of 961.7 million DKK for the construction of a global spare parts stock (cf. Table 3). The concept of the construction is elaborated below.
Finally, the acquisition cost of other purchases amounts to 914.1 million. DKK. It concerns expenses for modifications and updates of the acquired aircraft over the acquisition period and temporary supplier support for implementation of the F-35 structure in Denmark."
In addition to these 16.4 billion DKK, the minister will later return to request another around 650 million DKK for related construction work at Skrydstrup:
"It is in the political agreement that the Danish combat aircraft will continue to operate from Skrydstrup air base, which will be rebuilt and prepared to receive the F-35 combat aircraft. The total cost of this is estimated at 650 million DKK, including operation of construction site, advisory fees, expenses for possible expropriations, replacements, unforeseen expenses, etc. In its present form, the project does not include special construction work intended for crisis and war. Thus, in the case of a changed threat picture, it will potentially be necessary to make further investment in construction work.”
The granting authority for the cost of construction work will be obtained separately when the basis for presentation of the complete construction project is ready. The home for this is expected to be obtained by construction law in 2019."
The 10-page document contains a wide range of information that has already been reported, including the delivery rate, the setting-up of a common spare parts inventory and more.
However, there are also a number of new and interesting information. For example:
"The 27 F-35 aircraft will be delivered in two different configurations, with the first 10 aircraft delivered in the "Technology Refresh 2 (TR-2)"configuration, while the subsequent 17 will be provided in the Technology Refresh 3 (TR-3) configuration. This means that the first 10 aircraft will subsequently be updated to the Technology Refresh (TR-3) configuration. Costs for this are recognized."
The minister’s document then provides more information about how Denmark’s operational capabilities will be narrowed during the period while the F-16 is phased out and F-35 is phased in.
Air police missions and international operations with the F-16 will cease in 2022, when the F-16 retirement is due to begin.
Air police operations will resume with the F-35 in 2025, and international operations will resume in 2027.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: The Danish defense ministry’s request of $2.6 billion for 27 F-35A aircraft and their operational environment works out to $96.29 million each.
This is about half of the amount the UK Ministry of Defence is paying for its first F-35Bs (an admittedly costlier variant), which will be delivered several years before Denmark’s:
MoD officials told the House of Commons Defence Committee on Monday (Nov. 21) that Britain would pay £9.1 billion for its first 48 aircraft, or £189.53 billion ($252.59 million at today’s rate) each.
This is over 2.5 times as much as Denmark expects to pay, but the Danish defense ministry has provided no explanation for its much lower cost estimate.)