Royal Danish Air Force pilots have delivered the first two RDAF F-35A Lightning II fighter jets to Luke Air Force Base in preparation of pilot training.
The aircraft, assigned to the 308th Fighter Squadron arrived April 13 and will eventually be joined by five other Danish F-35s for use in the F-35 training program. According to the U.S. State Department, as stalwart NATO allies, the U.S. and Denmark cooperate extensively to promote peace and stability internationally.
“Today is a historical day for the partnership of the U.S. and Denmark,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Matt “HAIL” Cisar, 308th FS commander. “We’ve been preparing for the first Danish jets for years. Now that they’re here, we’re excited to train our first Danish fighter pilots.”
Pilots from all around the world participate in the F-35 training program.
Royal Danish Air Force Lt. Col. Nick “KIN” Hansen, 308th FS senior national representative, discussed the importance of building relationships between allied countries.
“We have to be able to operate together with different nations in the fifth generation Air Force,” Lt. Col. Hansen said. “When we have to go in to fight war together, we find comfort knowing we’ve gone through training from the same place.”
Luke is currently training fighter pilots from many allied countries, including Italy, Netherlands, Norway, and Singapore.
“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.
Airman 1st Class Dominic Tyler is with the 56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs Office at Luke Air Force Base.