A front view of an F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft armed with an AIM-9L Sidewinder training missile on the wingtip and two Mark 84 2,000-pound live bombs.

Denmark is set to fulfill its commitment to Ukraine by transferring all remaining F-16 fighters following their replacement with F-35s. Ambassador Ole Egberg Mikkelsen confirmed this during a Ukrainian telethon, specifying that Ukraine will receive all Danish F-16s except those already sold to Argentina.

Denmark’s fleet comprised 44 F-16AM and F-16BM fighters as of 2023, with 24 sold to Argentina in April 2024. Consequently, Denmark plans to transfer 19 F-16 fighters to Ukraine in multiple batches, without a fixed deadline.

This transfer aligns with Western countries’ agreement to provide Ukraine with approximately 65 F-16 fighters, including 19 from Denmark, 24 from the Netherlands, and 22 from Norway. While Denmark’s pledge to supply fighters to Ukraine has circulated since the beginning of the year, confirmation of Argentina’s purchase solidified the exact number allocated to Ukraine.

Delivery of the Danish F-16s is projected for the latter half of 2024, according to initial estimates outlined by Denmark’s Ministry of Defense on January 6th.

Denmark faces a significant national security challenge, currently training pilots with six F-35A Lightning II fighters at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, and four more at Skridstrup Airbase.

Meanwhile, Lockheed Martin, a key aerospace industry player, faces complexities, including delays in the Technology Refresh 3 configuration for F-35s. Despite assurances of completion by July, uncertainty persists regarding Denmark’s next batch of F-35s.

In response, Defense Minister Troels Lund Poulsen has proposed various strategies to enhance national security, including withdrawing Danish aircraft from Luke Air Force Base and exploring options to lease or purchase F-35s from allied forces.

Denmark affirmed earlier this year, around mid-March, that the delivery of F-16s to Ukraine would proceed independently of the F-35s’ delivery schedule. However, internal concerns regarding potential national security imbalances have been raised by Danish experts.

Simultaneously, Denmark has not imposed any restrictions on extending military assistance to Ukraine. Towards the end of last year, approximately 14 Ukrainian pilots were authorized to commence their F-16 training in Denmark following successful completion of their preparatory training in Great Britain.

The Danish F-16 AM, a versatile multirole fighter aircraft and an upgraded iteration of the F-16A, serves prominently in the Royal Danish Air Force due to its advanced avionics and weapon systems, rendering it a formidable asset in various air combat scenarios.

With technical specifications including a maximum speed of Mach 2.0, a range of 2,000 miles, and a service ceiling of 50,000 feet, the F-16 AM is propelled by a single Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-220E turbofan engine, generating 24,500 pounds of thrust. Its dimensions comprise a length of 49.3 feet, a wingspan of 32.8 feet, and a height of 16.7 feet.

Equipped with sophisticated avionics such as the AN/APG-66(V)2 radar, the Modular Mission Computer (MMC), the Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System (JHMCS), and the Link 16 data link, the F-16 AM ensures all-weather, day and night operational capabilities along with enhanced air-to-air and air-to-ground functionalities.

Featuring a versatile armament suite, the F-16 AM boasts a 20mm M61A1 Vulcan cannon for close-in combat, AIM-9 Sidewinder and AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles for air-to-air engagements, and a range of munitions including AGM-65 Maverick missiles, Paveway laser-guided bombs, and JDAM GPS-guided bombs for air-to-ground missions.

While the F-16 AM’s operational range stands at approximately 2,000 miles on internal fuel, this can be extended through external fuel tanks or air-to-air refueling, facilitating an operational combat radius of about 350 miles, allowing for effective sortie execution and return to base.