Denmark will retire its fleet of F-16 fighters earlier than planned, the Danish defense minister said Monday, raising the likelihood that a number of them will be donated to Ukraine.
The warplanes will be retired by 2025 instead of 2027 as the replacement F-35 aircraft from the United States “can be phased in and made operational earlier than planned,” acting Defense Minister Troels Lund Poulsen told public broadcaster DR.
“As a result, we are now in a situation where the F-16s can be retired earlier,” he told the broadcaster.
According to DR, a document submitted to parliament had shown that the F-16s were scheduled to remain in service until 2027.
Denmark is currently finalizing preparations for the training of Ukrainian pilots to fly F-16s on Danish soil, which the country hopes to begin before the end of the summer.
“Now that we have taken the step of starting a training and education program for the Ukrainian pilots, we will also have to consider whether we should make a specific donation of Danish F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine and how many there should be,” Poulsen said.
However, the F-16s “will remain in Denmark until 2024,” the minister added.
The Danish air force has 43 F-16s, around 30 of which are in service, and the Nordic country recently began receiving its first fifth-generation F-35s which will replace them.