This NATO Member Regrets Buying America's F-35 Stealth Fighter

David Axe

Key point: The radar-evading warplane probably wasn’t the best choice for an air arm that struggles to maintain adequate aerial capacity for a meaningful contribution to international security.

The U.S. ambassador to Denmark wants the Nordic country to buy more American-designed F-35 stealth fighters.

Ambassador Carla Sands’s advocacy for a “made-in-America” warplane should come as no surprise. But leaving aside the benefit to U.S. industry, Sands has a point. Denmark has too few fighters.

Of course, it’s in part the fault of the country’s determination to buy the F-35 that it stands little chance of growing its fighter fleet. The radar-evading warplane probably wasn’t the best choice for an air arm that struggles to maintain adequate aerial capacity for a meaningful contribution to international security.

Sands “is concerned that NATO’s aircraft power and surveillance capacities are not enough in the Arctic and that Denmark should fulfill three-year-old promises to strengthen defense and surveillance there,” Danish news outlet CPH Post reported.

Ambassador Sands referred to a report from the Ministry of Defense on the tasks in the Arctic from 2016, which show concern about the presence of Russian soldiers in the Arctic. Sands also believes the report shows that the lack of satellites means that Denmark does not monitor Greenland’s skies or waters well enough.

“There are not a lot of aircraft in Denmark. You have 38 to 40 F-16 aircraft today. It is actually a reduction in the number of aircraft, and Denmark should probably look into it,” Sands told Jyllands-Posten. However, according to the Ministry of Defense, Denmark only owns 30 F-16 planes

The Danish fighter fleet is about to get even smaller as it takes on the F-35.

On May 11, 2016, the government of Denmark recommended that lawmakers approve the purchase of just 27 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters from U.S. firm Lockheed Martin in order to replace the Scandinavian country’s F-16s.

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