The Royal Danish Air Force (RDAF) took delivery of another Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II at Luke AFB in Arizona on April 12; increasing the number of aircraft delivered to Denmark to date to seven airframes.
The new fifth-generation multi-role stealth fighter (serial L-007, c/n AP-07) is currently assigned to the 56th Operations Group’s 308th Fighter Squadron (FS) ‘Emerald Knights’ – a component of the USAF’s Air Education and Training Command (AETC) – where it will be temporarily pooled with other F-35As from the USAF, RDAF and Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) to support air and ground crew training at the Arizona base. While the fighter will start its RDAF service life helping to train new F-35A pilots and maintainers, this aircraft will be one of the first to arrive at Skrydstrup Air Station in Denmark later this year.
Denmark is currently preparing to welcome its first batch of F-35As to the country, with the initial aircraft expected to arrive at Skrydstrup this summer. The first F-35As (including serial L-007) are destined to be operated by the RDAF’s oldest existing fighter squadron: Eskadrille 727 (Esk 727; 727 Squadron). The decision to have Esk 727 become Denmark’s first operational F-35A unit was announced on February 2, 2022, with the move paying homage to the fact that Esk 727 was also the first Danish fighter unit to receive the F-16 Fighting Falcon in the mid-1980s. The squadron will operate both the F-35A and F-16AM/BM (MLU) for a brief time while it transitions to the fifth-generation fighter.
In line with this move, F-35A (serial L-007) was delivered to Luke AFB already sporting the unit’s insignia – Mjolnir, the hammer of the Norse God of Thunder, Thor on a winged blue shield; complete with the motto ‘Volat Percutit Revertitur (He Flies and Strikes and Returns)’ – on its vertical stabiliser. Denmark has a total of 27 conventional take-off and landing (CTOL)-configured F-35As on order, seven of which have already been received. The remaining 20 airframes are expected to be delivered to the RDAF by the end of 2026.