Saab bails out of Denmark.

Not going to happen.
Saab has declined to enter a bid in Denmark's recently announced fighter competition to replace its aging F-16 fleet.
"We are grateful for the invitation to tender, but as on all occasions like this, we have undertaken an analysis of the situation and choose not to respond to the invitation," 
Like Canada, Denmark hit the "reset button" on its F-35 purchase after concerns about the JSF's price, performance, and reliability.  It is now comparing the Eurofighter Typhoon, Boeing Super Hornet, and F-35.  Dassault's Rafale was apparently left out.

Saab's exact reasons for declining Denmark's request for binding information (RBI) are unclear, but seems pretty safe to assume that it believes the competition is heavily weighted in the F-35's favor.  Like Canada, Denmark is a "Level 3" industrial partner in the JSF program.

It could be more complicated than that, however.  Recent success in Brazil, combined with disappointment in Switzerland may have encouraged Saab to be more selective in its prospective client base.  Denmark would be a smaller order (around 30 aircraft), and it just might not be worth the effort to compete against industry giants like Lockheed-Martin, Boeing, and the Eurofighter consortium.  Both Boeing and Eurofighter are desperate to keep their assembly lines running, while Lockheed-Martin is adamant on keeping JSF orders up in order to keep costs down.  Fresh off its victory in Brazil, it would seem Saab has the luxury of sitting this one out.

Denmark was an early partner in the F-16 program, joining Norway, the Netherlands, and Belgium.  History may be serving as momentum here, as Norway and the Netherlands have already committed to the F-35.  Belgium may not be far behind.

What does this mean for Canada?

Probably nothing much.  Saab declined Canada's "request for information" seeing it as political smokescreen.  It has mentioned that it would reconsider a Canadian bid if Canada announced a full and open competition.  With a new fighter purchase delayed well until 2020, it is still too soon to predict whether or not this will happen.

[UPDATE:  Thanks Kjell!]  Boeing was told to limit its bid exclusively to the two-seat F/A-18F.  Two-seat variants are known to be more expensive and heavier.  This could very well be stacking the deck in favor of the single-seat-only F-35.

A similar issue happened in S. Korea, when Eurofighter's bid was disqualified when it 60 aircraft offer did not include enough two-seater Typhoons.  South Korea then went on to purchase 40 single-seat F-35s.

It makes you wonder if Eurofighter received stipulations for Denmark as well...


  1. The Danes are a bit strange, in the RBI-request the Super Hornet is the only fighter that is requested in the two seat version and only in the two seat version and according to the Danes it is not a misspeling in the RBI sorry in Danish.

  2. Good find!

    That does seem odd, but a similar thing happened in S. Korea. Eurofighter was disqualified because its bid did not include enough two-seaters... A version that doesn't even exist on the F-35.

    Two seater versions are heavier and more expensive... Perhaps this is giving the F-35 a considerable advantage.

  3. Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.
    Why do the Danes want to force the purchase of the lame duck F-35 with a rigged competition when they could partner with their neighbours ? They expect some scraps of F-35 business ? How cute. Mind you, the Swedes are also playing a weird game.
    The Dutch seem to understand that the F-35 is so expensive to buy and to use that they consider ordering fewer planes, and, if they could fob some of their lame Lightnings off on the Belgian Air Force, that would be just fine...
    Poor NATO countries, blind men led by a blind man.

  4. The aerodynamic performance of the Super Hornet F is identical to the E and the price it's pretty much the same, but with a copilot you have a better battle management, specially for attack missions. Maybe that's why they are interested in that version.

  5. How many F-35 Denmark could really buy?

  6. Are you sure the price is the same? A Rafale B (two seats) is 7-8% more expensive than a Rafale C (one seat) for French Air Force and all the debate for the Typhoon in South Korea was because the two-seaters aircrafts are more expensive...
    In addition, Rafale C carries more fuel than Rafale B.

  7. Not really but in any case, this is what is shown in the Boeing info. A flyaway cost of $65.3M for both. I should look in the USNavy procurement cost for more details but now I'm busy.

    Price/Unit Cost:
    In 2013, the unit cost of an F/A-18E/F Super Hornet is $65.3 million (flyaway cost) or $80.7 million incl. support costs. The airframe costs $33.22 million, the two F414-GE-400 engines cost $9.64 million ($4.82 million each), and the avionics cost $9.32 million.

  8. SAAB did find at least one thing that was an obvious thing for the JSF program:
    Every contender but LM needed to show how a buy would generate danish jobs and industrial know how.

    Anyone really believe in the "danes hit the reset button"
    What they do is the same as Norway, try to make the public BELIEVE they will choose the most bang for the buck.
    Anyone BUT lockmarts will be wasting time and money.

  9. Ok, that's interesting.

    33.22+9.64+9.32=$52.18 million. Where are the remaining $13 million?

  10. " Like Canada, Denmark is a "Level 3" industrial partner in the JSF program." I hope for Canada we were a level 3 partner. Reset, means stop, hold the phone, stop all payments until further notice. It would be really stupid if we are still paying.

  11. The whole Denmark, Netherlands, Belgium wanting the F-35 has never made any sense to me. Even if the F-35 did everything it says it can do, what mission needs would these countries have to want an F-35? The price is a whole other farce. Small countries, with small budgets interested in a plane that cost anywhere from 2x to 4x more than other available fighters, most of which could be labelled as gen 4.5+ planes.

  12. Aside from the usual political pressure and bribing, the problem that Denmark, Netherlands, Belgium, and Norway have is the whole F-16 nostalgia thing.

    They are blind to the fact that the development method is different, that the manufacturing deal and work-share is different, and that the F-35 by its nature is way more expensive than the F-16 to purchase and operate. They need to wake up and understand that they aren't buying an F-16 but a mutant F-16/AV-8/F-18 and all the associated problems and costs that come with it while their defence budget keeps on shrinking.

  13. Take a look at this one.

  14. I said I would never go there but what the hey. First I am not a total SIFI nut. Are the countries that are not buying the F-35 licking there chops? Basically, countries with Russian equipment. There I go, in Battlestar Gelatica the Machines blow the hell out of the Battlestar because they, the enemy, corrupted there newly installed software, except one ship the resisted the upgrade.
    I keep thing that the west is going so techo that they forgot to fly and that once all these countries spend all this money for junk, the SU35's of the world will stomp on them.

  15. It's definitely a mutant aircraft. One that will swallow the capital and operating budgets whole.

  16. The west is possibly to techno. We need to get practical again with weapons systems that are actually affordable and cost effective to operate.
    The SU35 is nothing more than an evolution of the Su27. The exact same evolution can happen and has to an extent with the F-18 and F-15. If we called the latest ASH18 a F-28 and the latest 15SE a F-25 people would be all goo-goo ga-ga over them.

  17. Maybe a small but positive news for Saab but as always it is not a deal before the contract is signed.

  18. I think US can propose some help for the air defense over the Greenland . Something that Sweden and France can't do.
    Since Russia show clearly interest for this part of the globe , Denemark and Canada need a strongest union with the US.
    I don't know exactly what is on the offer (state to state i mean, not industrial ageement) but it could certainly explain the obstination of Denmak and Harper for the F-35. F-35 contrat is just a part of the story.

  19. Indeed Canuck, buying the F-35 is a farce.

    De Crem, Belgium's former minister of Defence, hoped that promising to buy the F-35 would make him Chairman of NATO. It didn't work out. Now they insist that Belgium really needs the F-35 to collaborate efficiently with the Dutch airforce. As if it was not possible to fly different types of aircraft...

    Regarding the cost, you're 200% right. This is particularly true for countries with a large debt and/or high taxe rates.

    Last but not least, they all seem to forget the "tanker issue". Probe and drogue or the other stuff. Refueling with tankers that are not stealthy... Shoot the tanker out of the sky and the "oh so stealthy" f-35 will run out of gas and crash.

  20. Good on Saab! Standing up for its airplane and showing how unfair the proposals are being written, even though if it come out in some newspaper in a small article in some small corner.
    The have an aircraft only supply a two seater when the F-35 does not even come with one.

  21. I agree : Western countries are maybe going too far on the technological side of military hardware (not only for combat aircrafts). In addition, the massive standardization is industrially and financially interesting but a single failure could endanger the security of the whole NATO alliance. If F-35 doesn't perform as expected, what is the back-up plan?

    Battlestar Galactica is a very inspiring example in fact : you have to know what you are fighting and adapt your forces accordingly. If your enemy is a master of electronic attack and cyberwarfare, it can't be a good idea to go fully-digital and fully-networked.

  22. air defense over the Greenland? Indeed that must be a logistical and technical challenge!

  23. lol. Don't forget the go pro cam!

  24. An update on the possible Slovak order on Gripens is that both the Swedish Defence and Security Export Agency FXM and Slovak Defence Department denies that anything is agreed on. The news has created a bit of a stir in the media.

  25. SAAB might have a case if it decided to sue the Danish government for organizing an unfair competition.

  26. Seems like Saab's running out of options. The way I see it Brazil is the best they got if everything turns out well and they will be fine for sometime, then they'll have to content themselves with tenders from countries who can only afford to buy a squadron of 12 or less. Even at that level they'll have to compete with EDA f16's.
    Too bad fighter procurement is not a national security decision. If only Sweden is a geopolitical powerhouse.

  27. Makes you wonder about the utility of NSA. Surely any serious organisation uses analog means of communication.

  28. I wonder if in the end there will be pilots for the F-35s for the non-US operators or if it will be the same situation as in Austria which has 15 EFs tranche 1 but only can afford 12 pilots but was supposed to buy 18 tranche 2 EFs.

    Not discussing possible corruption in the deal but maybe the Austrians would be happier if they chosen the Gripen with its low operating cost instead and maybe there will be others that will regret their choice in the future.

  29. If the Danish were clever they would buy Advanced Super Hornets and Growlers.

    This is from today

  30. Why would the Danes suddenly be wiser than the Norwegians and the Dutch ?

  31. Don't forget the so symbolic action of a russian sub deposing a mini-russian flag on the see floor Under the Artic ice. That someting that US , Canada and Danemark have still in mind.
    A the same time , russian air forces restart massively to penetrate sovereign air space of this countries (+japan ).
    For Canada , the first work is not to participate in any NATO opperation but it's intercept and escort russian bombers and fighters out o his sovereing air space. Idem for Danemark and i would not be surprised to find Danish planes working from Canada or Alaska in the futur.
    Is it determinant in the choice for the f-35 ? I don't think so. But it's sure that US make big pressure and have a lot of "offsets".

  32. Well, they looked at the gripen then but made a political decision on the EFT.
    Bulgaria, Norway and Denmark is on top of my list for countries that will have the F35 as their hangar queens. Their pilots will be drinking coffee in their lounge as the Czechs, Hungarians and Slovaks flies high

  33. A irony and parody about using Hornets in regards to someone's references about Gripens in the Baltic.

    Not trying to start a discusion but isn't it fun?

  34. Now it's clear why they prefer the Gripens.


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