The Royal Danish Air Force bought a total of 77 F-16A/B aircraft in 2 major batches and 2 attrition replacement orders. Of these, 48 aircraft and 14 spares, all upgraded to MLU standard, will remain operational until 2020-2025 when they will be replaced by the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
In the late 1970s, Belgium, Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands started looking for a replacement for the F-104 Starfighter. These four nations, known as the European Participating Air Forces (EPAF), became the first international customers for the F-16. Together with the US, they started a unique multi-national development program for the F-16.
Under the terms of the agreement, F-16 Fighting Falcons for the EPAF nations were to be produced in Europe. Danish F-16s for the initial and follow-up order were built on the SABCA production line in Belgium and the Fokker line in The Netherlands respectively.
Denmark considers the F-35 Joint strike Fighter as a possible F-16 successor. It has participated in the JSF project since 1997, and for the time being JSF is one of a few candidates. A number of Danish companies are associated with the JSF project, which entitles them to compete as subcontractors.
RDAF F-16AM, #E-607
, armed with AMRAAM
and a GBU-12 laser guided bomb [RDAF photo]
The initial Flyvevaben
(Royal Danish Air Force) order was for 46 single seat F-16A's and 12 two-seat F-16B's. Final assembly of these planes was carried out by the SABCA plant in Belgium, and all were built to the initial block 1
standards. Deliveries to the RDAF began on January 28th, 1980, with the arrival of the first F-16B.
Since all European built F-16s were assigned USAF serials for administrative purposes, RDAF F-16s carry the last 3 digits of their USAF serial numbers on the fuselage. For F-16A's, the serial number is prefixed by E, for F-16B's it is prefixed by ET.
The 58 F-16A/B's in the initial RDAF order were later upgraded to F-16A/B block 10 standards by the RDAF's Aalborg workshop in the Pacer Loft I program.
After briefly considering buying 24 additional F-16s to replace its aging Saab Drakens (an order which never came through), a follow-on batch of 12 block 15 (large-tail) aircraft was ordered in August 1984. The order consisted of 8 single seat F-16As and 4 two-seat F-16Bs. Contrary to the aircraft of the initial order, the aircraft of the follow-on order were built by Fokker in The Netherlands, and were intended as attrition replacements.
RDAF F-16A #E-004
was part of a follow-on order for 12 Block 15 aircraft. Note the PIDS
on the middle hardpoint [Photo by H. Kristensen]
Attrition Replacements I
Three former USAF Block 15 aircraft from the 170th Fighter Squadron of the Illinois Air National Guard were delivered to the RDAF in July of 1994. The serial numbers of these aircraft were #82-1024, #83-1075 and #83-1107.
RDAF F-16A Block 15 #E-024
was one of three ex-USAF attrition replacement aircraft that were delivered to Denmark in 1994, and is seen here dressed up for for the holiday season [RDAF photo]
Attrition Replacements II
A second batch of 4 attrition replacements arrived in early 1997. They will be spread among the existing units and will be upgraded to MLU-standard. The -A Block 15's are former 704 FW, Texas AFRC aircraft and the -B Block 10 is a former 162 FW, Tucson ANG machine.
||E-011, E-070, E-074
Modifications & Armament
All Danish F-16s are equipped with a search light, mounted on the port forward fuselage, in front of and just beneath the canopy. The search light is used for identification during nighttime interceptions, and uses a 450W light bulb. This modification is the same as the light on Norwegian F-16s, and similar to the ADF's. The RDAF already installed this searchlight during initial production.
All Danish AF F-16s are equiped with an Identification Spotlight on the port side of the cockpit, used to identify night-time intruders. [F-16.net photo]
Pylon Integrated Dispenser
The RDAF's F-16s have been given extra wiring to the no. 3 and 7 wing stations, in order to be able to accept the Pylon Integrated Dispenser Station. The PIDS is manufactured by Per Udsen Co. Aircraft Industry (Terma A/S since 1997) in Denmark, and is in fact a pylon equipped with chaff dispensers. Normal configuration is to carry a PIDS on either 3 or 7 station, and the Advanced Miniature Jamming System (AN/ALQ-10) on the opposite pylon. AMJS is a very powerful system comparable with the AN/ALQ-131 series, and is also built in Denmark.
The chaff dispenser used by the RDAF right now is the RR-170 with 30 chaff cartridges in each. After briefly considering the RR-180, the RDAF has ordered a new type called Cherming Chaff Block (CCB) from Cherming Ltd., England. The CCB is the same size as the RR-170 but carries 60 charges.
All chaff/flare/ECM activity is controlled by the (digital) Electronic Warfare Management System (EWMS) which is made by the Danish company Terma. The mechanical firing mechanism in the chaff/flare canisters have also been replaced by a digital one from Danish origin.
Some Danish F-16s also have the capability of carrying the Red Baron Recce Pod. The Red Baron Pod has been replaced by the Modular Reconnaissance Pod (MRP), locally developed by Per Udsen Co. (now Terma). This pod has also been exported, amongst others to to Belgium.
Royal Danish AF F-16A in recce configuration, equiped with the Baron recce pod and the Pylon Integrated Dispenser System (PIDS) - a countermeasures dispenser in the outer wing pylons. [RDAF photo]
The RDAF participates in the MLU program and has modified all of its remaining 61 F-16s in the Aalborg workshop.
The primary air-intercept weapon carried by RDAF F-16A/B's is the AIM-9L Sidewinder, but the RDAF plans to acquire the AIM-120 AMRAAM fire-and-forget air-to-air missile for its F-16s. It will also acquire the Hughes AGM-65G Maverick air-to-surface missile for ground attack missions, with the LAU-3, Mk 82 and Mk 84 also staying in service in the near future.
With the modernization of the Danish F-16s to MLU standards, also other weapon systems were introduced on the fleet. Besides the purchase of some LANTIRN pods, also LGB weapons were acquired consisting in GBU-12 and GBU-24 weapons. Denmark was the first of the four EPAF countries to purchase the GBU-31 JDAM for its F-16 fleet.
Danish F-16 at Karup AFB
with weapons line-up [RDAF photo]
Since Danish pilots found that the built-in clock/timer in the instrument stack was not ideal to use, a cheap digital quartz watch was fitted next to the HUD on all Danish F-16s.
Currently the aircraft are being upgraded with the LINK 16 advanced tactical data link, JHMCS (Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System), and an advanced EWMS (Electronic Warfare Management System)
Please refer to the F-16 Units
section for an overview of units.
Grazzanise AB, Italy, 1999
During operation 'Allied Force' in 1999, Denmark participated with a number of F-16s stationed at Grazzanise AFB in Italy, together with F-16s from Norway. Danish F-16s most of the time undertook CAP missions. During the conflict, the RDAF also sent their updated MLU F-16s to Italy to take maximum effect of the AIM-120 missiles and the other advantages offered by the upgraded airframe.
Manas AB, Kyrgyzstan, 2002
In 2002 the Danish government decided to send F-16s to Afghanistan in support of operation 'Enduring Freedom'. Their aircraft are stationed at Manas AFB in Kyrgyzstan together with aircraft from The Netherlands and Norway. Operations have been flown from October 2002 to October 2003. All EPAF countries, except for Belgium, have flown together in this operation, showing a multinational detachment can operate in a hostile environment very effectively.
Baltic Republics Air Police
After Belgium provided for the first 3 month rotation for the air policing of the three Baltic republics - Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia - the RDAF send 5 F-16s to Lithuania to take over from this detachment. From July 1st till October 10th, 2004 they provided air cover over the Baltic states being supplemented by RAF Tornado F-3 aircraft from the latter date.