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Research Report

Denmark’s need for fighter aircraft: A strategic analysis of the future need for Danish fighter aircraft

Mikkel Vedby Rasmussen
Henrik Ø. Breitenbauch
Copyright Date: Oct. 1, 2007
Pages: 44
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Table of Contents

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  1. (pp. 5-8)

    Does Denmark need a new fighter aircraft, when the F-16 is due to be phased out? Considering the missions that the government and Parliament will find it necessary for the Danish Armed Forces to take part in over the next 30-40 years, the answer will be yes. In the varied and unpredictable globalised security environment, the Danish Armed Forces must expect to join missions spanning the entire spectrum of conflicts: from armed stabilisation, where the role of the armed forces is to secure the establishment of stable societal structures; to armed diplomacy, where military force is used to compel a...

  2. (pp. 9-14)

    When Parliament is about to decide whether Denmark should buy a number of fighter aircraft to replace the F-16 it is quite natural indeed to discuss which aircraft the Armed Forces should have. However, the question about which aircraft to buy cannot be determined by the characteristics of the individual types of aircraft. For today, an aircraft is not just an aircraft. It is part of a network, and its performance is a function within the network. Thus, the most important is not what the aircraft can do, but what it is capable of within a network. Consequently, Parliament has...

  3. (pp. 15-25)

    Denmark has not specialised in a particular type of mission. Specialisation would make military planning far easier and make it possible to predict the precise capabilities required by Denmark in next 30-40 years. However, this kind of precision would violate the security-political reality, which is indeed characterised by unpredictability and multifaceted threats. Hence, the Danish Armed Forces should anticipate that the government and Parliament want to deploy Danish troops to a number of various missions making different demands on troops and equipment. When drawing on the experience of missions made by the Danish forces since the end of the Cold...

  4. (pp. 26-32)

    At the time when Denmark decided to procure F-16, we were facing a concrete threat, which made our need for fighter aircraft tangible. If the Warsaw Treaty countries decided to attack Denmark or our NATO partners, what would we need? In such situations under severe strategic pressure, countries have very little scope for deciding which military technology to invest in, and how they are going to use it. They are compelled by their opponents, in the sense that their military capabilities must counteract the capabilities of the opponent. Today, the strategic pressure on Denmark is very slight which results in...

  5. (pp. 33-36)

    Denmark has a need for a fighter aircraft to replace the F-16. The question is, what are the actual Danish needs? This is an important question, because the three different types of mission, which the government and Parliament are expected to want to contribute to in the next 30-40 years until any replacement fighter aircraft is phased out, make different demands to airpower. Therefore, a precondition for making a qualified decision about Denmark’s requirement for fighter aircraft is that the government and Parliament assess the overall need for airpower. Only then will it make sense to consider which type of...