In a historic moment, a F-35 fighter jet has appeared for the first time in Danish air space since the signing of the acquisition contrast, performing a demonstration flight, Danish Radio reported.
The flight was performed by two Norwegian aircraft with Norwegian pilots behind the steering wheel.
While universally hailed by the Danish government and many military experts, the advent of the aircraft billed as the new backbone of the Danish Air Force has sparked a lot of concern among the locals living in close proximity to the air base.
Calculations have shown that the actual noise levels will exceed those permitted in 618 homes around the air field, 15 more than the F-16. The F-35 is much heavier than the F-16 and has Pratt & Whitney jet engines that emit almost twice as much noise.
For første gang, siden Danmark besluttede at købe F-35-kampfly som erstatning for F-16-kampflyene, har F-35-kampfly været på besøg i Danmark. Læs mere: https://t.co/En3ToURGp3 #dkforsvar pic.twitter.com/8Cu0pFItmy— Forsvaret (@forsvaretdk) 22 de maig de 2019
Still, these calculations do not take into account a future update of the fighter's Pratt & Whitney jet engine, which, according to the Defence Ministry, aims at "adding more power to the engine while saving fuel".
"Pratt & Whitney estimates that the engine update will result in an increase in engine noise of about 2 decibels", the Defence Ministry admitted.
READ MORE: Noise Annoys: Danes Daunted by Roaring F-35s
According to Dorte Hammershøi, a professor of acoustics at the Department of Electronic Systems at Aalborg University, this will result in a marked increase in noise pollution.
"This will mean that there will probably be more homes hit by excessive noise levels, and that all homes on the current noise map will also have higher levels", Dorte Hammershøi pointed out to Danish Radio.
This perspective has left the locals apprehensive.
"We fear that once the compensation bill is passed, the trap is shut. <…> If they were to upgrade the engines, then I fear that they would downplay the increase and claim it has no meaning", Agnes Rosenlund of the Association of Skrydstrup Air Base Neighbours said.
The purpose of the demonstration flight was thus to allow the locals to judge for themselves how much noise an F-35 fighter plane emits compared to an F-16. At three-minute intervals, first a Danish F-16 and then a Norwegian F35-fighter flew two special routes over Southern Jutland.
"I think it will definitely help the locals to get a better sense of how big the change will be when we receive our F-35 aircraft", Per Pugholm Olsen of the Defence Ministry said before the "sound test".
Norsk F-35 er netop landet i Danmark. @forsvaretdk’s kommende kampfly er i Danmark for første gang for at give en demonstrationsflyvning: Læs mere: https://t.co/x7Td08lECV #dkforsvar pic.twitter.com/JZigEMSu1z— Forsvaret (@forsvaretdk) 22 de maig de 2019
Starting in 2023, F-35 fighter aircraft will operate from the Skrydstrup Air Station, where they will replace Denmark's aging fleet of F-16 fighters.
The deal involving 27 F-35 fighter jets has been described as the largest-ever state purchase in Denmark's history, with the lifelong costs associated with the aircraft expected reach DKK 66 billion ($10 billion).