This is the first in a number of updates in english that nytkampfly.dk will produce about the fighter competition in Denmark. The updates will be published continuosly until the down selection. The purpose is to give an overview of the development of the Danish competition primarly with focus on the political process.
On December 22nd 2015 defence minister Peter Christensen wrote to the defence committee in the Danish Parliament and once again postponed the down selection process. According to the defence minister the Danish Government will present a recommandation in the spring of 2016. After that a public debate will follow and discussions within the group of parties behind the defence settlement.
The defence minister told the committee that the recommandation needed to be consolidated more giving no more specific reason for the postponement. It is very likely that the postponement is related to ongoing discusssions within the government about the financing.
Secondly the permanent secretary of State at The Ministry of Defence, Lars Findsen, was replaced on December 18th by the head of the Danish Defence Intelligence Agency. The permanent secretary is the head of the steering committee leading the work of the fighter program office.
A program office within the Ministry of Defense is making analyzes, which initially leads to a recommendation on each of four evaluation areas. They are economy, industrial participation, military requirements and the strategic aspect.
The economic evaluation focuses on a comparative assessment of the candidates’ life cycle costs, including costs associated with the acquisition. The industrial evaluation focuses on how the candidates can support major Danish security interests through industrial relationships with the Danish defense and aerospace industry.
The military evaluation focuses on the candidates’ ability to provide operational power and to keep the aircraft updated through its 30- or 40-year long service life and the risks associated with each candidate.
The strategic evaluation will include focus on the candidates’ fulfillment of overall Danish security and defense policy objectives. It is both about security aspects and the military strategic aspects in relation to cooperation with other countries. It is based on excisting policy papers and defence agreements and not on questions to the candidates. A panel of experts are advising the program office.
During the process independent consultants from Deloitte and RAND Europe are making quality control on the work of the program office.
The end result will not be one overall recommendation of one specific aircraft. Instead the program office will rank the participants within the four evaluation criteria. Denmark is not looking at buying a specific number of aircraft.
The Danish government will recommend an aircraft and the number of planes to buy. It will also lay out a plan for financing the procurement.
The recommandation will be made public and the Defence minister is planning for a large public debate about the decision. The politicians in the parliament will be able to see the confidential information at the ministry of defence. Peter Christensen on November 19th promised that no down selection will be made before all parties behind the defence settlement are feeling comfortable with the decision.
The first Danish F-16 fighter jets were delivered in 1980. Denmark Today have 30 operational aircraft. The airframes are near the number of maximum flight hours and it is hard to find spare parts for the aging engines.
The process of acquiring a replacement for the F-16 jets started in August 2005 when the Danes send out a Request For Information (RFI). Lockheed Martin (F-35A), SAAB (JAS-39E Gripen) and Eurofigter (Typhoon) responded possitivly. Dassault (Rafale) declined to participate. Denmark has been a partner country in the F-35 program since 1997. On this basis Dassault meant, that Denmark had already de facto chosen the F-35.
In 2007 Eurofighter wihdrew simultanously from the Danish and the Norwegian fighter competition. In 2008 Boeing joined the Danish competition with the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.
An evaluation process took place in 2008-2010, but was set on hold in March 2010. The main reason was that the Royal Danish Air Force (RDAF) estimated, that they could keep the F-16’s flying a few more years than first expected.
The competition started again in March 2013 with a planned down selection before the end of June 2015 and expected delivery of the new aircrafts in 2020-2024. Eurofighter was given the green light to rejoin the competition.
In April 2014 the Ministry of Defense issued a “Request for Binding Information” (RBI) to the four participating aircraft manufacturers; Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Eurofighter and SAAB. The request revealed that the danes are interested in the two-seat F-version of Boeings F-18 Super Hornet.
On July 21st 2014 Eurofighter, Lockheed Martin and Boeing handed in the answers to the RBI. The Swedish Defense and Security Exports Agency, Försvarsexportmyndigheten, and SAAB did not hand in answers about the JAS-39E Gripen Next Generation-aircraft. An official reason for withdrawing from the Danish competition was never given in public by the swedes.
Three jets are still participating in the contest. It is the Eurofighter Typhoon, the Boeing F-18F Super Hornet and the F-35A Lightning II (Joint Strike Fighter).
A parliamentary election in June 2015 postponed the down selection once more. On December 22nd 2015 Defence minister Peter Christensen wrote to the defence committee in the Danish Parliament, that the Government will present a recommandation in the spring of 2016. After that a public debate will follow and discussions within the group of parties behind the defence settlement.