The Ministry of Defense of Denmark published pictures of the first F-35A Lightning II intended for the Flyvevåbnet, the Royal Danish Air Force (RDAF).
The aircraft, with the tail number L-001, was first covered in a gray low-visibility livery. “It is a lengthy process that extends over about four weeks because several coats must be painted and each coat must be 100 percent smooth and without the slightest impurity,” explained the Ministry. Then, unlike most F-35 operators, Denmark chose to adorn the fighter jet with vivid markings, namely red and white cockades, and the famous Dannebrog flag on the tail. Danish folklore has it that this flag fell from the sky ahead of an important battle, which Denmark won ‒ a fitting symbol for the fighter jet.
The unique symbols were chosen for the aircraft to be easily recognizable among F-35s from other countries, and to signify their belonging to the whole nation of Denmark, as explained by Chief of Staff of the Air Force Command Jan Dam. However, the Ministry stated the aircraft’s stealth capabilities would be unaffected and that they should not be easier to track by radar or visually.
After a series of comprehensive tests to ensure that all systems in the aircraft function properly, L-001 will be delivered to the RDAF on April 7, 2021. From there, it will join the advanced training facilities of the Luke Air Force Base in Arizona. It should take about two years for Danish F-35 stealth fighter jets to be operational. In total, 27 F-35As were ordered for the RDAF. They will eventually operate from Skrydstrup Air Base, in southern Jutland.