Danish Defense Ministry Grilled Over Hushing Up F-35 Noise Levels
(Source: Sputnik News; posted Aug 27, 2018)
The Danish Defense Ministry's unverified claims about the noise levels of the future backbone of the Scandinavian country's air force may add extra costs to the divisive multi-billion krone purchase, experts suggest.

Defense Minister Claus Hjort Frederiksen of the ruling Liberal Party has misled the Danish parliament in matters pertaining to the noise levels of the F-35 fighters before allocating billions for the procurement of the fifth generation US combat jets, two experts claimed in an interview with the Jyllands-Posten daily. (See unofficial translation below—Ed.)

According to Jyllands-Posten, Frederiksen failed to inform the parliament about problems with measures to ensure that the residents in the vicinity of Skrydstrup air base in South Jutland won't be affected by the noise.

Furthermore, the Danish Defense Ministry maintained that changing the aircraft's engines could reduce the noise levels below what was claimed by the manufacturer, Lockheed Martin. Despite the fact that the Danish calculations were never approved by the US Development Office for the F-35 (JPO), the Danish Parliament's Finance Committee allocated over DKK 16 billion for the procurement of the new fighter jets in December 2017.

"Had there been the slightest doubt about the figures, they should have been submitted to parliament," Sten Bønsing, a professor of administrative law at Aarhus University told Jyllands-Posten, citing "massive political interest" in the matter. According to him, the government misled the parliament.

Ole Wæver, a professor of international politics at the University of Copenhagen, found it "very problematic" that the Defense Ministry had withheld critical data about noise levels, stressing that the Danish calculations were based on overoptimistic assumptions and a distortion of the figures.

"There is no excuse for failing to establishing the best possible decision base for the parliament," Wæver said, stressing that willfully removing information deemed uncomfortable was unacceptable.

Jørgen Albæk Jensen, a professor of administrative law at Aalborg University, argued that it was an aggravating circumstance that several parties (most notably, the Red-Green Alliance) expressed their direct concern for the noise levels.

Jyllands-Posten also pointed out that the government also withheld a critical report about F-35 noise levels during the two-year tenure of Frederiksen's predecessor and party colleague Peter Christensen. Should Frederiksen turn out to have proceeded in the same fashion, the case should be considered even more serious, Socialist People's Party defense rapporteur Holger Nielsen ventured.

"Not telling the whole truth and withholding information is completely unsatisfactory and completely unacceptable", Nielsen said, urging the Danish government to quit "Christmas games."

The Defense Ministry rejected having withheld the noise data for the parliament. According to the Defense Ministry, the Danish government was at that time unaware that "the optimized flight profiles couldn't be used under Danish conditions," which was only discovered during later tests.

The acquisition of 27 F-35 fighter jets is estimated to become the largest-ever state purchase in the history of Denmark, with the lifelong costs associated with the aircraft expected to set the Danish state coffers back a whopping DKK 66 billion ($10 billion).

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Experts: Defense Minister Has Misled the Folketing About Noise from Combat Aircraft
(Source: Jyllands-Posten; published Aug. 25, 2018)
(Published in Danish; unofficial translation by JoBo)
Defense Minister Claus Hjort Frederiksen (V) has misled the Folketing in the matter of the noise level of the upcoming Danish F-35 fighters.

This is claimed by two experts in administrative law who evaluated the basic information of the process on which the Danish Parliament's Finance Committee granted in December 2017 over 16 billion DKK for the new F-35 fighter plane.

The minister failed to inform the Folketing (Parliament) on several occasions that there were problems with validated measures that would ensure that the aircraft could fly such that the residents around Skrydstrup air base, in Sønderjylland, would not be forced out of their houses by the noise.

This can be proven by information of a public source, which Jyllands Post has obtained. From this it appears that the Ministry of Defense tried to get the approval that changing the aircraft's engine thrust request (ETR) settings could cause the aircraft to be less noisy than the aircraft manufacturer's noise data showed.

But the Danish calculations would include data that the United States Development Office for the F-35 (Joint Program Office or JPO) could not approve. "Nobody will take responsibility for this," wrote a JPO employee in an email to the Danish Ministry of Defence in September 2017.

However, this information was not forwarded by Defense Minister Hjort Frederiksen to the Folketing (Parliament) prior to the meeting in December, where politicians approved the billionaire purchase. Thus, the flight purchase can cost taxpayers more money for noise protection than previously announced.

"If there had been the slightest doubt about the figures, it should have been presented to the parliament. Because at that time in November and December 2017, the government could not have doubted that there was a massive political interest in the matter, "says Professor of Administrative Law, Sten Bønsing.

The same does professor of administrative law Jørgen Albæk Jensen means: "And here, it is an additional aggravating circumstance that it did not happen, because several parties in the parliament had directly raised the case."

The Ministry of Defense itself rejected in a written statement that information has been retained for the Parliament: "Before the adoption of the document, the Folketing was informed that the aircraft noise issue was handled by a construction act, which was due in 2019. In addition, the Ministry of Defense had not, at the time of Parliament's adoption of document 31, clarified that the optimized flight profiles were not usable."

However, this explanation is rejected by Bønsing and Albæk Jensen, who maintain that even the slightest doubt about the noise calculations should have been presented to the parliament because of the size of government procurement. Both R, SF and Unity List call it unacceptable.

"There is a pattern. Whenever the Folketing (parliament) has to decide something about the (F-35) plane, those parts that are critical and where the people are in some way concealed are hidden from the Folketing, "says Eva Flyvholm (EL).

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