New fighter jets must create jobs, defence minister insists

If the four candidates want to secure the billion-kroner Danish contract, they will need to bring Danish jobs to the negotiating table

In a bid to revamp its air force and replace ageing F-16 jets, the Defence Ministry is considering spending upwards of 30 billion kroner on new fighter jets.

Four aircraft manufacturers are being considered, but the defence minister, Nicolai Wammen (Socialdemokraterne), said that Denmark would only invest in new fighter jets if doing so brings jobs to Denmark.

“All four candidates will be informed of the same: If there won’t be jobs coming to Denmark, then we won’t be buying planes from them,” Wammen said on the news programme, 21Søndag.

Manufacturers getting the message
The four candidates for the Danish contract – which include one of the world’s leading fight jet producers, the US firm Lockheed Martin – are picking up on the Defence Ministry’s frequency.

“It is clear that orders involving the Danish industry are essential in the selection process, and we understand that,” James Latham, the head of sales for Lockheed Martin, said according to public broadcaster DR.

Lockheed Martin hopes to sell its advanced, but still developing, F-35 Joint Strike Fighter to Denmark.

German company Cassidian, which is looking to sell its Eurofighter jet, has also gotten the message.

“If it’s about creating value for Denmark, then we feel confident thanks to our considerable network of large European industrial firms within aerospace, civilian flight and safety,” Lars Jørgensen, the head of sales for Cassidian, told DR Nyheder.

No job figures yet
But despite Wammen’s terms neither he nor the fighter manufacturers have indicated how many jobs a prospective deal could generate.

The Danish weapons industry is looking forward to the billions of kroner in orders that the deal will bring, but warned against blindly trusting the manufacturers.

”If you don’t demand a 100 percent counter trade agreement, then you may be dealing with good, co-operative businesspeople, but you can forget about creating Danish jobs,” Jan Falck-Schmidt, the head of Falck-Schmidt Defence Systems weapons manufacturers in Odense, told DR Nyheder.

Aside from Lockheed Martin’s F-35 and Cassidian’s Eurofighter, the two other candidates are Boeing, with its F-18 Superhornet, and the Swedish firm Saab, with the Gripen Next Generation.

A decision will be made by 2015 at the latest.

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