Denmark’s defense ministry has shared a photo of what is starting to resemble its air force’s first F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
The aircraft, with tail number L-001, was photographed at Lockheed Martin’s electronic mate and alignment station (EMAS), where the planes actually start to look like a finished product. 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 will receive 27 new fighter jets between 2021 and 2026. However, L-001 will first arrive at Skrydstrup air base in 2023. The F-35 is phasing out the F-16, which has been in service since the 1980s.
The head of the Danish Air Force Command, Major General Anders Rex, who will ceremonially take delivery of L-001 in 2021, said: “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 for Denmark is beginning to take shape, and we are very much looking forward to the F-35 contributing to the Danish Armed Forces.”
Denmark has been part of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) development work since 1997, securing 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.
The country recently also unveiled graphics of the F-35 with Danish insignia.