Four bidders are to contest Denmark's next-generation fighter requirement, after Copenhagen decided to consider alternatives to its planned procurement of up to 48 Lockheed Martin F-35As.

Boeing, the Eurofighter consortium and Saab have been approached to provide information about their respective F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, Typhoon and Gripen E platforms, as part of a process to be conducted within the framework of the Danish defence agreement for 2013 to 2017.

 Danish F-16s - RIAT

Royal International Air Tattoo

The Royal Danish Air Force has a current fleet of 36 F-16AM fighters and 11 BM-version trainers

"We are ready to develop a strategic partnership with Denmark and provide opportunities for significant collaboration with Europe's leading industrial nations," says Eurofighter chief executive Enzo Casolini. The Typhoon had previously been on offer to Copenhagen, until then-campaign lead company EADS withdrew from the process in late 2007, alleging that it was skewed in favour of the F-35.

Selection of the Typhoon would result in reduced costs for the Royal Danish Air Force, through "logistics, training and interoperability during coalition missions", Eurofighter claims. Its multi-role combat aircraft is already operated by core programme partner air forces Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK.

Saab, which has long pitched its next-generation Gripen as a potential choice for Denmark, points to Sweden's recent commitment to acquire 60 E-model examples, along with a planned Swiss air force order for 22. In a statement, the manufacturer cites its ability to deliver an aircraft with "operational capabilities that are second to none, and to a cost for operating that appeals to ministers of finance and taxpayers".

"We are looking forward to receiving more information about the process [in Denmark]," says Lennart Sindahl, head of Saab's aeronautics business area.

Denmark's involvement as a Level 3 partner in the F-35 programme has been set at the potential procurement of up to 48 aircraft in the Joint Strike Fighter's A-model conventional take-off and landing configuration. Lockheed had previously said that it expects the nation to make a decision on buying the type later this decade.

 F-35A - Lockheed Martin

Lockheed Martin

Denmark has been expected to acquire up to 48 F-35A Joint Strike Fighters

The selected combat aircraft will replace the Royal Danish Air Force's current inventory of Lockheed F-16s. Its fleet totals 36 AM-variant fighters and 11 two-seat BM-model trainers, which Flightglobal's MiliCAS database records as having been delivered between 1980 and 1989.

Source: Flight International