The F-35 program and cost is out of control. Billions of dollars can and will be saved on military (and other) purchases after January 20th.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 12, 2016
A file photo taken in July shows the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II taking part in a flying display at the Farnborough Airshow. Photo: ADRIAN DENNIS/SCANPIX
Denmark has ordered 27 of the jets, which pales in comparison to the 2,457 jets the United States has ordered from American weapons producer Lockheed Martin.
The US’s purchase of the F-35 has been beset by problems, with spiralling costs and schedule delays blowing the price of the aircraft up to over $400 billion, almost twice the initial estimate.
On Monday, Trump joined a chorus of US critics by slamming the F-35 costs as “out of control”.
Denmark announced in May that it had chosen the F-35A Lighting II jets, also known as Joint Strike Fighters, over Boeing’s F-18 Super Hornet and the Eurofighter Typhoon.
The Danish order of 27 jets came with a purchase price of 20 billion kroner ($2.9b) but their lifetime costs were estimated by the then defence minister, Peter Christensen, to be 56.4 billion kroner ($8.1b). A Radio24syv report indicated the total cost for could turn out to be closer to 100 billion kroner ($14.3b)
Andreas Krog, who has chronicled Denmark’s long debate over which fighter jets to purchase, said Trump’s remarks were unlikely to have any impact on the Danish government’s decision.
“I can’t see that it will have an effect. And it’s not my impression that the project is out of control,” he told news agency Ritzau.
Denmark currently has a fleet of 30 F-16 fighter jets that have been in service since 1980.
The F-35A fighter jets, which would replace the F-16 and which is still in development, are expected to be ready by 2027. Denmark is one of nine partner countries, that also include Britain, Canada and Turkey, who are helping pay for the futuristic F-35A fighter jet's development.