Denmark fires the starting pistol.
The nation of Denmark has now declared a fighter competition to replace its aging fleet of F-16 Fighting Falcons.
Much like Canada, Denmark's government was forced to implement a "reset" thanks to political unsavoriness regarding the F-35. Concerns over high costs, performance, and availability forced the Danes to take a closer look at the alternatives.
Denmark is still considering the F-35, but will evaluate it alongside the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, Eurofighter Typhoon, and the Saab Gripen E. Conspicuous by its absence is the Dassault Rafale.
The similarities between Denmark and Canada's F-35 procurement are hard to ignore. Both countries are Level 3 partners in the JSF program that have been forced to reevaluate their purchases. Both have been forced to reduce their planned fighter buys due to costs. Both countries have also shown a traditional preference for American built military equipment. This would naturally lead one to believe that the race will be between the F-35 and the Super Hornet.
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Then again, Denmark has previously flown Saab 35XD Drakens. Saab has also been aggressively promoting the Saab Gripen to Denmark recently. Interestingly enough, Saab's initial offering to Denmark, the "Gripen DK" was the first step towards Saab's upgrade to the current "Gripen E" model.
Given Denmark's history with Saab fighter aircraft in the past, as well as its dwindling military budget, this fighter competition could very well turn into a two-way race between the high-dollar F-35 and the cheaper Gripen E. Seeing as how Saab's Gripen has been on a bit of a roll lately, we might just see its first F-35 conquest sale.
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