Danish F-35 Fleet Reaches a New Milestone
April 22, 2022
Story by: Danish Armed Forces
Less than a year ago, the first Danish F-35 fighter jets began flying at Luke Air Force Base in the USA, and in just under a year, the four aircraft have now flown a total of 1,000 hours. It has been a period of a steep learning curve where a solid team effort has led the aircraft to this particular milestone.
The implementation of the F-35 is progressing, and earlier this month the first four Danish aircraft, all located in the USA, rounded a milestone. The fleet has now flown a total of 1,000 hours in less than a year, and has thus from the start managed to complete the production of flight hours as planned.
This milestone is due in particular to the team performance that technicians, support staff and pilots have provided together.
"Getting fighter jets in the air is about cooperation, where many people are involved. It is not only the pilot who flies the plane that makes it happen, but rather those around them. Therefore, it is also to the great advantage of the entire technical and logistics team that our four aircraft have been continuously ready to fly, and therefore have been able to achieve 1,000 hours of flight without major problems, "says KIN, pilot and head of the Danish detachment at Luke Air Force Base.
The 1,000 hours are roughly evenly distributed across the four aircraft, emphasizing the aircraft's reliability and the support structure's ability to produce the number of flight hours that were planned at the time.
“We really enjoy being part of a maintenance collaboration where American technicians contribute with support and knowledge. We come with many years of experience from the F-16, and we know how to operate fighter jets. But the F-35 is of course different and new to us, and therefore it is something special that together with our partners we can perform the first 1,000 flight hours safely and solidly, "says Lars, who is major and logistics manager for the Danish aircraft at Luke Air Force Base.
The training environment at Luke Air Force Base provides - in addition to concrete experience with maintenance - a good framework for creating an even stronger collaboration with close allies. At the base in Arizona, the Danish F-35 detachment is located side by side with the American, Norwegian, Italian and Dutch air forces, and it provides a very special access to exchange experiences, establish relationships and train together.
"The collaboration at Luke Air Force Base is unique and very beneficial for us. Of course, we have been the new boys in the class over the past year, and we have therefore drawn on the experiences of others. But we are now at the point where our aircraft have flown a total of 1,000 hours, and we can therefore seriously bid for the partnership with important knowledge about, for example, maintenance procedures and optimizations of the number of flight hours per frame, ”says KIN.
Denmark is a partner nation in the international F-35 program, and the Armed Forces is therefore an integral part of both the development and operation of the F-35 capacity. Denmark has purchased a total of 27 F-35 aircraft, of which a good handful will remain in the United States in the future as part of the training program. The first aircraft are expected to arrive in Denmark in the autumn of 2023, and they have been purchased as a replacement for the F-16, which has made a solid effort for more than 40 years.
Read here the full explanation of why Danish F-35 fighter jets stay in the USA.