The Royal Danish Air Force achieved a milestone in the F-35 training program by using a Denmark-owned F-35A Lightning II for the first time in a training flight over Luke Air Force Base.
During the May 5 flight, a Danish pilot flew alongside pilots from the U.S. Air Force and Royal Netherlands Air Force F-35s.
U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Matt “HAIL” Cisar, 308th Fighter Squadron commander, said this mission underscores the cooperation between the allied countries.
“Today is yet another milestone in the progression of training for all our F-35 partners,” Lt. Col. Cisar said. “Now that we have the Danish flying their own jets, we will continue recieving more of their aircraft to instruct the next generation of pilots in Denmark.”
Two Danish officers, enrolled in the F-35 program since November 2020, have been training in U.S. and RNLAF aircraft. The first two RDAF jets arrived at Luke AFB for pilot training April 13.
The RDAF pilot, known as “MON,” 308th FS F-35 test pilot, shared his experience flying the first RDAF F-35A.
“I’m truly humbled to be chosen as the first Danish pilot,” he said. “This is the beginning of a new era for the Danish Air Force and our partnership with the United States. Since I arrived at Luke, I have received truly amazing support from the 308th and everyone here on base.”
According to Lt. Col. Cisar, two additional Danish F-35s were expected to arrive in May. Luke is projected to have seven RDAF F-35s for Denmark pilot training by 2023.
In addition to pilots from Denmark, fighter pilots from other countries, including Italy, Norway and Singapore, are currently training at Luke.
“It’s truly remarkable to come into a fighter squadron in which a U.S. pilot might fly a Danish jet alongside a Dutch pilot flying a U.S. jet,” Lt. Col. Cisar said. “It shows all the work that’s gone into the F-35 program, the partnerships and how much we rely on each other to get the mission done.”
The F-35 training program is designed to integrate pilots, foreign and domestic, into a common set of tactics and advanced technologies enabling them to execute the mission as one unit.
Editor’s note: Airman 1st Class Dominic Tyler is with the 56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs office at Luke Air Force Base.