First RDAF F-35s Have Arrived In Denmark

One of the first four F-35 Lightning II take off from the Lockheed Martin Fort Worth facility enroute to Fighter Wing Skrydstrup, Skrydstrup Air Base, Denmark. (Credit: Lockheed Martin)

The RDAF (Royal Danish Air Force) F-35s are the first to feature a toned down version of their nation’s colored roundel and national flag.

The first four Royal Danish Air Force (RDAF) F-35A aircraft to be based on home soil landed at the RDAF’s Fighter Wing Skrydstrup at 14.09LT on Sept. 14, 2023. Flying as DAF 6727-6730, the Lightning II aircraft (L-007/008/009/010) arrived in Denmark from Lockheed Martin Fort Worth facility via Lajes, Azores.

At Skrydstrup airport, where the aircraft will be based and operate under the Esk 727, the stealth aircraft were welcomed by local authorities as well as a large press contingent.

“As newly appointed Defense Industrial Attaché, it is a privilege to oversee the first aircraft ferry of Denmark’s new F-35 Lightning II,” said His Royal Highness Brig. Gen. Prince Joachim of Denmark. “The F-35 is a huge step forward in technology. The arrival of the F-35 provides Denmark and the Danish Armed Forces a beacon to transform the armed forces to 5th Generation. It is a pleasure to note that this unique piece of military hardware also holds Danish industrial components and is testimony to the close ties between the United States and Denmark.”

The four aircraft that arrived in Denmark today are the first of 27 F-35s ordered by the RDAF.

Interestingly, as we were the first to report, the Danish F-35s are the first to feature a national roundel with a toned down version of the colored roundel and national flag: the overall aircraft are painted in 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, are in Insignia Red FS 31136, and light gray shade (instead of white) FS 36375.

The palette of the Danish F-35. (Image credit: RDAF)

This is what we wrote in another article here at The Aviationist:

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.

Noteworthy, when it deals with the color palette of the F-35, Belgium will add a subdued red and yellow along with their black in December, whilst Poland will be the first true hi-visibility with red and white roundels.

Belgian Air Force F-35A mock up with the national flag on the tail (Image credit: Sean Hampton)
Mock up of the Polish F-35 showing the Polish Air Force roundel/checkerboard. (Image credit: Sean Hampton)
About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.