Denmark became the 9th and final partner nation to join the production and support phase of the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter program. Minister of Defense Soren Gade signed the F-35 Production and Sustainment and Follow-on Development Memorandum of Understanding, in Copenhagen, Denmark. See Lockheed Martin release.
Denmark joined the JSF program in 1997 as a tier 3 partner, and in 2002 was the first European nation to enter the program’s system design & development (SDD) phase. Danish firms have received SDD contracts for advanced composites, communications software, control-surface components, and weapons pylons. By signing the production MoU, Denmark gives the F-35 program a 100% retention rate as the aircraft heads into full testing and pre-production. Participating countries will be on the spot for purchasing decisions in 2008-2009, and withdrawal may be complicated by contract clauses defining their participation in the current phase. Production of the first delivery aircraft is expected to begin around 2011-2013.