LONDON — Denmark has restarted a competition to select a fighter jet to replace the Air Force’s fleet of F-16s and has reopened the door to a bid from Eurofighter with the Typhoon.
Boeing, Eurofighter, the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program office and Saab all received official notification via a letter Wednesday informing them that the competition, frozen in 2010 due to economic woes, was back on. The competition will see Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet, the Eurofighter Typhoon, Lockheed Martin’s JSF and Saab Gripen battle for one of the biggest defense procurements ever undertaken by Denmark.
The Danish Ministry of Defence confirmed that the Typhoon had been allowed to re-enter the bidding after none of the political parties involved in approving Denmark’s five-year defense budget plans objected.
Eurofighter walked away from the fighter competitions in Denmark and Norway in 2007, expressing dissatisfaction with the procurement process. Reports at the time said the move was prompted by a process that favored the JSF. Denmark is a Tier-3 partner on the Lockheed Martin-led jet development and has invested more than $200 million in the program.
Eurofighter, whose bid will be led by the EADS Cassidian defense arm, said it welcomed the invitation from the Danish government to compete.
“Eurofighter is pleased to enter into this international competition. We are convinced that Eurofighter will fulfill the Danish requirement,” said a spokesman for the consortium of BAE, EADS and Finmeccanica.
A decision on the winning contractor is set to take place by mid-2015.
Denmark originally sought to acquire 48 jets, but that number has been reduced to about 30.
No in-service date for the winning aircraft has been released by the Danish MoD, although in a Danish media interview today, the defense minister said the current fleet of F-16s could fly until 2020 or possibly to 2024 before being pensioned off.