First F-35 for Royal Danish Air Force Takes Shape on Fort Worth Production Line

The first F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter aircraft being manufactured for the Royal Danish Air Force is taking shape on the F-35 production line at Lockheed Martin’s Fort Worth, Texas facility.

The aircraft with tail number L-001 arrived at Electronic Mate and Alignment Station (EMAS) on July 16, which is the first time you visually get the feel of an assembled aircraft. EMAS is an electronic compatibility and assembly system designed to perform the final assembly of the front, center and rear of the F-35, as well as the wing module.

Denmark is acquiring 27 new F-35A fighter jets from 2021 to 2026. The F-35 is replacing RDAF’s F-16 Fighting Falcon jets, which since the 1980s has given Denmark the ability to assert Danish sovereignty, take part in international operations and contribute to NATO’s collective defense. The new Danish F-35 fighter jets are expected to be able to solve the full task complex nationally and internationally from 2027.

The head of the Air Force Command, Major General Anders Rex, who in 2021 will be handed over the aircraft with tail number L-001.

“This is an important milestone we have reached on the way to receiving the first F-35 aircraft. The production of the F-35 aircraft to Denmark is beginning to take shape, and we are very much looking forward to the F-35 contributing to the Danish Armed Forces,” he said.

The first Danish F-35 fighter jets will continue to be in the USA, and it is not until 2023 that Danish F-35 aircraft will land at Skrydstrup Air Base.

The director of the F-35 Fighter Program, Major General Henrik Lundstein, comments on the milestone: “As a partner in the F-35 program, Denmark has from the beginning been involved in developing the F-35 aircraft. It is therefore a great pleasure to see the first Danish F-35 fighter jet now a reality. This milestone is an important step on the way to the Armed Forces officially handing over the first aircraft to be included in the training of Danish F-35 pilots at Luke Air Force Base in 2021.”

Since 1997, Denmark has participated in the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) development work, which, among other things, has ensured early involvement of Danish industry in the program. In 2007, the Danish side signed the JSF co-operation agreement, and from 2013-2016, Denmark implemented the type selection process, which culminated in a political agreement to procure the F-35.

Denmark’s F-35 Procurement:

Denmark joined the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program in 2002 during the System Development and Demonstration phase and has influenced technical elements of the F-35. In October 2008, they delivered a Danish F-16 to the JSF 461st Flight Test Squadron at Edwards AFB as part of the RDAF’s partnership with the F35 program and the F-16 served as a chase plane for the F-35 Development, Test & Evaluation program through Dec. 2016. In June 2016, Denmark confirmed plans to procure 27 F-35As.

Danish Industry is already involved with F-35 production and development in Denmark. Several Danish companies such as Terma and Multicut have been awarded work and are making parts such as pylons, advanced composites, machine parts, radar components and horizontal tail edges, on every single F-35.

The first Danish F-35 fighter aircraft is scheduled to be completed by October 2020, and, after having undergone a series of comprehensive tests, will be officially transferred to Danish ownership on January 27, 2021.

This transfer will be done at a roll-out ceremony at Lockheed Martin’s factory in Forth Worth in the US. Following the transfer, Danish fighter pilots, mechanics, and other personnel will be trained for the operation of the aircraft.

Denmark’s first F-35 pilot will be trained for February 2021, while it is planned that the first aircraft will start to operate from Skveststrup Flyvestation (Fighter Wing Skrydstrup) in Denmark in 2023.

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