The arrival of the first four Danish F-35A Lightning II fighters at Skrydstrup Air Base, Denmark, was celebrated with great enthusiasm by the Kingdom of Denmark and Lockheed Martin.
At the official ceremony, Lockheed Martin formally transferred ownership certificates of Denmark’s F-35As to the Danish Ministry of Defense Acquisition and Logistics Organization. Over 450 Danish and allied government, military, and industry leaders gathered to mark this significant milestone, while more than 10,000 local citizens participated in the Royal Danish Air Force’s public open house. During the open house, attendees gained insights into the F-35’s mission for Denmark, its industry suppliers, and witnessed both the F-35 and F-16 in a flying display.
Danish Minister of Defence, Troels Lund Poulsen, expressed, “The arrival of the first F-35 combat aircraft in Denmark is a historic event for the Danish Defence and the Royal Danish Air Force. It is thanks to the close and professional collaboration between Lockheed Martin, the F-35 partnership, and the Danish Defence that Danish Defence is now stepping into the future of air defense.”
Denmark has played a pivotal role in the F-35 program since 2002 when it joined as a partner during the System Development and Demonstration phase, influencing technical aspects of the program strategically. The Royal Danish Air Force also contributed a Danish F-16 to the Joint Strike Fighter 461st Flight Test Squadron at Edwards Air Force Base, California, where it served as a chase plane for the F-35 Development, Test & Evaluation program. Danish industry has also been involved in F-35 production, development, and sustainment activities, currently producing parts and components for the projected 3,100+ F-35 aircraft to be manufactured.
Greg Ulmer, Executive Vice President of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, remarked, “This milestone event is the realization of the vision, foresight, and strategic investment Denmark made more than a decade ago. We expect that the F-35 will play a crucial role in 21st-century security missions for Denmark, delivering unmatched 5th Generation capability, connectivity, and interoperability. The F-35 integrates joint forces, providing an unparalleled network effect across allied forces and significantly strengthening alliance-based deterrence across all domains.”
To date, Denmark has received ten F-35s, with four now stationed at Skrydstrup Air Base and six at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, where Danish pilots and maintainers are undergoing training. Denmark’s plan is to acquire a total of 27 F-35A aircraft. This F-35 fleet will play a vital role in enhancing NATO’s collective resilience in the Baltics and strengthening the alliance’s capacity to deter and defend against all threats in all domains. Denmark becomes the 10th country and the fifth European NATO nation to operate the F-35 from its own territory. The growing presence of the F-35 in Europe fosters collaboration with trusted allies and partners through a multilateral, multinational approach, ensuring an effective deterrent against near-peer competitors.
By the mid-2030s, Europe will host over 600 F-35s across NATO member bases and Switzerland. NATO members participating in the F-35 program include Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, the United States, and the United Kingdom. With the addition of Skrydstrup Air Base, F-35s are now operational from 31 bases worldwide.
Lockheed Martin’s commitment to supporting F-35 operators remains strong, with over 975 F-35s delivered, more than 2,180 pilots and 15,000 maintainers trained, and a cumulative flight time exceeding 721,430 hours. This ongoing collaboration ensures that allies remain ahead of evolving threats.