Danish F-16 fighter jets participated in their first mission over northern Iraq on Thursday, the Defence Ministry announced.
“The jets took part in an operation over Iraq in close cooperation with our coalition partners. Our people have made dedicated and highly professional efforts to be ready and I am very pleased that the Danish F-16s are now actively contributing to the international coalition’s fight against the Islamic State,” Defence Minister Nicolai Wammen said in a statement.
Wammen said that two Danish jets took part in an American-led mission to engage Isis forces in Iraq, but that there proved to be “no need for the Danish jet’s support on this mission and no weapons were used”, according to the ministry.
The Danish jets did however obtain “useful information” to be used by coalition forces, the statement added.
Although this first mission did not entail strikes, Wammen stressed that the military mission against Isis would be no walk in the park for the Danish pilots.
“This will not be an easy fight. It is also not without danger. But it is a fight that we can not abstain from being involved in, and the Danish pilots are, along with the rest of the crew, both well-trained and experienced,” he said.
The Danish parliament approved the military mission in Iraq on October 2nd, and the Danish jets arrived at the Ahmed Al Jaber base in Kuwait on October 5th. According to a report from Berlingske, the Danish jets were kept grounded until Thursday due to the lack of permission from Kuwaiti authorities to use the country’s airspace. Wammen did not respond to Berlingske’s report.
Denmark has contributed a total of seven F-16s to the coalition efforts against Isis: four operational jets and three in reserve. Accompanying the jets is a crew of up to 140 people.