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Eurofighter back in Danish jet competition

April 7, 2011 at 10:11 AM   |   Comments

COPENHAGEN, Denmark, April 7 (UPI) -- The Eurofighter consortium wants back into the race to outfit Denmark's armed forces with a new fighter jet.

"What we're saying is that while there is no official Danish tender at present, Eurofighter wants to participate in such a competition when the new tender is launched," military news Web site Defensenews.com quoted Eurofighter spokesman Marco Bonelli as saying.

Due to budget issues, the Danish government last spring put its fighter replacement program on hold and said it would revisit it in 2012.

The Eurofighter consortium left the initial bid in December 2007, saying the conditions clearly favored Lockheed Martin's F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Also in the race are the Gripen NG from Sweden's Saab and Boeing's F/A-18 Super Hornet.

Apparently, this has now changed.

"The Danish political, military and competitiveness picture is different," Bonelli told Defensenews.com. "The Eurofighter has also changed a lot. It is now a much more mature combat aircraft and we can make a more complete, affordable and competitive offer to Denmark."

Its pilots are flying updated F-16 fighter jets taking part in an international mission in Libya. Danish military officials have in the past lobbied to restart the fighter program, saying pilots would benefit from the advanced stealth technologies offered by the planes in the competition.

"There is no doubt that if we had the availability of a fighter with stealth characteristics, and difficult to track by radar, it would be a comfort-enhancing factor for pilots," Maj. Gen. Henrik Roboe Dam, the head of the Danish air force's Tactical Air Command, told Defensenews.com.

Designed and built by a consortium of three European companies -- German-Spanish European Aeronautic Defense and Space Co., Finmeccanica from Italy and Britain's BAE Systems, the Eurofighter Typhoon is a twin-engine, canard-delta wing multi-role aircraft. It's in service with six nations -- Germany, Italy, Spain, Britain, Austria and Saudi Arabia.

Eurofighter jets from the British air force last month flew their first combat missions while patrolling the no-fly zone over Libya.

The plane is also competing for a $10 billion contract to outfit India's air force with 126 new multi-role fighters.

The sale of fighter jets has increased over the past years.

Sales of combat jets and their related components accounted for 34 percent of the global arms market from 2005-09, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute said last November. Russia and the United States remain the most successful suppliers of combat jets.

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