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F-35s operating out of Denmark for 1st time as country prepares for arrival of 1st airframe

F-35 fighter jets will be operating out of Denmark for the first time ever, with five US Air Force aircraft arriving at a Danish air base in Skrydstrup on Monday, March 6.

The base in Southern Jutland will host the American jets until March 16 as part of preparations for the arrival of first Danish F-35 fighter jets from the United States this autumn.

The American aircraft will be stationed at Fighter Wing Skrydstrup during this period and will be involved in regular pre- and afternoon flight passes and training with parts of the Armed Forces.

While the arrival of US F-35s is not the first time the fifth-generation fighter has landed in Denmark, it will represent the first time the type has spent significant time on operations in the Danish skies. Norwegian F-35s were the first to fly in Danish airspace and land and take off again at a Danish airport in 2019.

Denmark is bracing for the arrival of the first Danish F-35 on home soil this autumn, and has been part of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) development work since 1997.

It is worth noting that while the first airframe is yet to land in Denmark, six of the advanced fighters are already in service with the Danish Air Force, flying out of the Luke Air Force Base in the US in support of personnel training.

The defense ministry said it is keeping its F-35s in the US to avoid investments into costly training and training infrastructure such as buildings, training equipment, maintenance equipment and services. With this move, Danish pilots also gain unique experience through close cooperation with their more experienced counterparts from the US armed forces.

Denmark is set to receive a total of 27 F-35s between 2021 and 2026. The F-35 is phasing out the F-16, which has been in service since the 1980s.

While the F-16s are quite old, Denmark recently made the decision to keep the fighters in the air for longer than expected amid a deteriorating security situation caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The defense ministry said last summer it would extend the F-16 fleet in service to 2027, contrary to previous plans of beginning the drawdown with the arrival of the first of the new F-35s.