Whereas Donald Trump pledged to modify the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program in a bid to reduce wasteful government spending, Norway and Denmark, which are both relying on the costly warplanes to update their ageing aircraft fleet, intend to carry on with their orders, which naturally pale in comparison with the massive procurement of over 2,400 jets by the US Air Force.
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) 12 декабря 2016 г.
Earlier this year, Denmark, which is among the nine partner countries that are paving the way for the futuristic fighter jet, ordered 27 F-35s from American arms manufacturer Lockheed Martin. The choice stirred considerable criticism from Danish military experts, who argued that the transaction would leave a big dent in the Danish state coffers. The lifetime costs were estimated by former Defense Minister Peter Christensen as 56.4 billion DKK (over $8bln), whereas a Radio24syv report found the total expenditure to be closer to 100 billion DKK ($14.5bln). In November, the Danish government sought extra money for equipment for the fighters.
"I can't see how it [Trump's criticism] can possibly have any effect. Also, my impression is that the project is not out of control. Quite the contrary," Anderas Krog said, as quoted by the Danish tabloid newspaper BT.
However, Krog admitted that it may be of importance whether the US ultimately decides to have fewer aircraft or have them delivered at a slower pace.
Even Denmark's northern neighbor Norway, which previously ventured upon buying 51 F-35s in the nation's single largest military procurement and tailored its new defense strategy to specifically rely on US-made fighter jets to provide the country's security, intends to stay firm. Recently, Norway had the first four F-35s delivered and plans to continue its increasingly close cooperation with the US.
"This is a very long-term and well-founded cooperation," Norwegian Defense Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide told NRK during her recent visit to Luke airbase in Phoenix, Arizona, where Norwegian crews are being trained to fly and maintain Norway's new war toy. Eriksen Søreide took special pride in the fact that Norway is at present the single largest partner nation in the US F-35 program.
"We can confirm that we had four aircraft delivered on time and at the agreed price," Norwegian defense spokesman Endre Lunde told Norwegian broadcaster NRK.
Previous estimates by the Norwegian Defense Ministry indicated that the aggregate price tag will reach roughly 70 billion NOK (some $8.5bln), whereas the total lifetime expenditure is expected to surpass 260 billion NOK ($31bln). Additionally, education and maintenance cooperation with the US is expected to continue for at least 40 years.