Denmark scrambles for backup plan as F-35 fighter jet deliveries stall

The Danish Ministry of Defense has recently expressed concerns about the delivery timeline of the next batch of Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II fighter jets. Defense Minister Troels Lund Poulsen has urged the military to consider contingency plans in case of potential delays. Poulsen highlighted the importance of having a backup plan in place to counteract any delays in the delivery of the next F-35 fighter jets. 


Lockheed Martin, the manufacturer of the F-35 aircraft, aims to have the first aircraft in TR3 configuration prepared by July 2024. The TR3 configuration is a significant upgrade for the F-35 fighter aircraft as it enables modernized Block 4 capabilities by providing additional computing power. Block 4 is anticipated to include several significant system upgrades, including an improved radar system, upgraded electronic warfare capabilities, and a new set of long-range precision weapons. Despite these significant upgrades, there is a significant risk of delays, which makes the precise delivery timeframe unclear. Lockheed Martin has revealed that it has faced setbacks in the flight certification process for TR3 due to unexpected challenges encountered by its subcontractor, L3Harris. L3Harris is responsible for producing the F-35's new integrated core processor. 

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The Danish Ministry of Defense has stated that the military will proactively plan measures to address any potential delays. These measures include considering the temporary repatriation of some Danish F-35A fighters currently deployed at the joint training facility in Arizona, US, exploring support from other nations for continued pilot training, and evaluating options for acquiring or borrowing F-35 aircraft from partner nations. 


Poulsen emphasized that F-35 fighter jets are a significant investment for Denmark and crucial for defense and security for years to come. He has asked the Danish Defense Forces to explore potential initiatives to counteract any delays in the delivery of the next F-35 fighter jets. The Danish Ministry has stated that the present situation is not anticipated to affect Denmark's commitment to donating F-16 aircraft to Ukraine or its obligations to NATO in crisis situations. Denmark, the Netherlands, and Norway committed to delivering their respective fleets of fighters in August 2023.


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