May 7, 2010 (by A1C Melanie Holochwost) - About 100 members from the Royal Danish Air Force fighter wing deployed to Luke Air Force Base recently for a month long F-16 combat enhancement training mission.
RDAF F-16AM #E-610 from Esk. 727 is seen overhead at Nellis AFB after departing for a Green Flag mission on April 21st, 2010. [Photo by EOR]
Maj. Michael Rosenkrands, Danish detachment commander, said they do a lot of their training outside of Denmark
because of its size and for the opportunity to gain experience from their allies.
Denmark has 16,629 square miles of land, which is about half the size of South Carolina. For example, if the Barry M. Goldwater Range was located in Denmark, it would take up more than a quarter of the land.
"Luke is an excellent place to train because of the large airspace, ranges and weather," Major Rosenkrands said. "We also train in Sweden and Norway
. During the extremely cold, foggy and icy months, we train in Portugal
where the weather is warmer and runway conditions are better. And we participate in Red Flag with the United States every other year or so."
Major Rosenkrands said members from a variety of career fields including pilots, maintainers, weapons load crews, intelligence specialists, mission planners, administrators and flight surgeons will be training at Luke until May 19.
"Fourteen of them are coming in from Green Flag at Nellis (AFB
, Nev.)," he said. "The rest are coming straight from Denmark."
Major Rosenkrands said Denmark's air force is very small.
"Denmark only has one fighter wing and two fighting squadrons," he said. "We brought eight of our 60 jets here consisting of block 10s and 15s with M4 and M5 mid-life update modifications."
Maj. Micah Bell, Danish Operations commander who is also an American exchange pilot, said the Danish aircraft would be equivalent to a Luke F-16 going through continuous computed impact point, an aviation and technology update.
The Danes also brought weapons that Airmen at Luke may not have seen before including AIM-9X missiles and GBU-31
and -49 bombs.
"We brought both air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons," said Capt. Lars Stokholm, Danish Logistics commander. "They don't have these weapons at Luke and they are so big that we definitely can't drop them in Denmark."
The AIM-9X is a version of the Sidewinder
which is a supersonic, heat-seeking, air-to-air missile that can be fired day or night, according to Captain Stokholm. The GBU-31 and -49 are both global positioning system guided bombs.
Major Rosenkrands said he and his team are very excited to be at Luke.
"It is very good experience and our team is excited to see the sites in Phoenix," he said. "When a few of us were here in January we thought it would be a good idea to deploy here for training. The leadership at Luke agreed and has been very supportive. If everything goes well, we would definitely like to come back again."