The aircraft was painted with a new livery to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Royal Danish Air Force.
The Flyvevåbnet celebrated its 70th birthday on Oct. 1, 2020. To mark the anniversary, the F-16AM serial E-005 was given a “special” paint scheme: the new livery is actually an overall Have Glass Grey (FS36170), that is quite different from the traditional two-tone grey color scheme.
Interestingly, the one sported by the Viper E-005 is the same color that will be applied to the new F-35A Lightning II of the RDAF.
Unlike the aircraft of most partner nations, the Danish F-35s will feature a toned down version of the colored roundel and national flag: the overall aircraft will be FS36170 (as for all the other F-35s), while the Dannebrog, the Flag of Denmark, on the aircraft’s tail fin and the RDAF roundel, on the side of the air inlet, will be in Insignia Red FS 31136, and light gray shade (instead of white) FS 36375.
According to RDAF Chief of Staff in the Armed Forces Air Command Jan Dam, this choice was made based partly on a desire for the aircraft to be easily recognizable when they are on the runway together with the F-35 from other countries, and partly to symbolize that the fighter jets are neither owned by the Armed Forces or the Air Force, but by all Danes.
“The F-35 is not just the Armed Forces’ or the Air Force’s new fighter aircraft. It is all of Denmark’s fighter jets that must ensure that we can all sleep safely at night. Therefore, the F-35 must of course be painted with Dannebrog on the tail fin and in that way show that the F-35 is the nation’s shield against enemies,” says Colonel Jan Dam.
The use of a paint scheme based on three of the approved colors on the F-35 (six, at the moment, according to our sources) will preserve the LO (Low Observability) of the jet. Furthermore, the dark red color in the flag and roundel will not make it easier for opponents to visually detect the Lightning, the RDAF said.
The first of 27 Danish F-35s is scheduled to be completed by October 2020, and after undergoing a series of extensive tests, will transfer to Danish ownership on Jan. 27, 2021. This will take place during a “roll out” ceremony, where the aircraft will roll out of the factory in Forth Worth in the USA and officially delivered to Denmark.
This is followed by a period in which Danish fighter pilots, mechanics and other personnel must be retrained so that they can handle the new aircraft.
Denmark’s first F-35 pilot will be trained by February 2021, while it is planned that the first aircraft will start operating from Skrydstrup Air Base in 2023.
H/T Martin Lousen for sending the photos and info over to us!