Danish government OKs $3 billion purchase of 27 F-35 fighter jets

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics is expanding its plant in west Fort Worth to handle increased production of F-35s.
Lockheed Martin Aeronautics is expanding its plant in west Fort Worth to handle increased production of F-35s. Star-Telegram

Denmark’s parliament agreed to a deal with Lockheed Martin to spend $3 billion, or 20 billion kroner, to buy 27 F-35 Joint Striker Fighter jetson replacing its aging fleet of fighter planes.

The total cost for the lifespan of the deal, assuming some planes last as long as 30 years, would be 55 billion kroner, said Henrik Dam Christensen, defense speaker for the opposition Social Democrats. The F-35s will replace old Lockheed Martin F-16s, which Denmark has used since the early 1980s.

Denmark is revamping its fleet at a time when the “world security map has changed,” Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen said last month, when his minority government proposed going with Lockheed Martin over Boeing’s F-18.

In a statement, Lockheed said it’s honored by Denmark’s decision to go with the F-35. “We stand ready to accommodate Denmark’s decision and will continue to work with the U.S. government and the F-35 Joint Program Office to support the procurement of the F-35,” the company said.

Denmark, a member of NATO, would be the 11th country to buy the F-35, which is equipped with radar-evading technology. The nation is been a development partner in the F-35 program along with the United States and seven other countries: Australia, Canada, Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway and Turkey. Israel, Japan and South Korea are also foreign military customers.

In addition to more than 100 planes already built for the U.S. military, Lockheed has delivered F-35s to Australia and Norway, and plans to make its first delivery to Israel later this month.

Lockheed’s west Fort Worth aeronautics complex is in the midst of a $1.2 billion reworking and expansion to handle more production. Lockheed expects to produce 53 F-35s this year, up from 45 last year, then about 60 in 2017 and up to 100 in 2018.

Meanwhile in Canada, Lockheed Martin pushed back against comments from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that the stealth fighter “does not work.”

According to the Ottawa Citizen, Charles Bouchard, chief executive of Lockheed Martin Canada, said it was “disheartening” to hear Trudeau say Tuesday that the F-35 “does not work and is far from working.”

In an interview, Bouchard told the Citizen: “This aircraft is ready to go. This aircraft is doing the job today. And this aircraft will do the job for the Canadian Forces, today and into the future.”

This article includes material from staff writer Steve Kaskovich and Star-Telegram archives.