Denmark: Big Ideas Despite Cuts

RSS

Despite its small size, both in term of country and population size, Denmark has always been a heavyweight player in coalition military operations.

In recent years, Danish troops have served in Iraq and are currently serving in Afghanistan, with 570 personnel working alongside British, U.S. and Georgian soldiers in Helmand Province. Denmark supported Operation Unified Protector over Libya and was one of the first countries after the U.K. to lend a hand to Operation Serval, the ongoing French-led actions in Mali.

At the same time, it has ships and patrol aircraft supporting the NATO anti-piracy mission, Ocean Shield.

Photo: Tony Osborne/AW

Now Denmark is planning to extend its Afghan mission further by sending helicopters to support its troops there for the first time. The Air Force’s Helicopter Wing wants to send a pair of EH101 Merlins, known as Danish Multi-Role Helicopters (DMRHs), into the front line in Helmand in 2014 working alongside their British counterparts in the Joint Helicopter Force (Afghanistan).

It’s an impressive plan when you consider Denmark's other taskings. The Danes plan to prepare their crews by sending them on a training exercise in the U.K. and to El Centro in California where they will conduct brown-out landings in the desert, so they can be ready for the deployment in July 2014.

Several Danish pilots have already experienced life on the front line, flying U.K. Royal Air Force EH101s in Afghanistan as part of an enlarged exchange program signed when the U.K. purchased six Merlins from Denmark back in 2007.

Plans for the deployment come at a challenging time. Denmark’s defense budget faces cuts of 15% and new priorities are emerging.

The Danish Armed Forces have a responsibility for the defense of Greenland, the world’s largest island and least densely populated territory. At a time when resources are becoming scarce, Greenland offers many opportunities in terms particularly of mining. But defending such a vast area represents a huge and costly challenge.

The Danish armed forces have a constant presence with a frigate and a helicopter and there are occasional deployments of Challenger maritime patrol aircraft looking for pollution and illegal fishing, but these are limited in their coverage. Denmark has just three Challengers and the fleet spends hundreds of hours a year patrolling just Denmark’s territorial waters. To patrol Greenland’s waters to the same degree would require thousands of flight hours with a larger fleet of aircraft.

But the advent of global warming may well demand that. Denmark also has responsibility for Greenland’s search and rescue region, a vast area of sea, which in previous years has been iced over. But in the future, it is possible that during the summer ships will be able to make use of these waters en route to Asia, and tourism could increase with cruise liners skirting the coast, but currently there are few assets available that could come to their rescue.

Please or Register to post comments.

What's Ares?

Aviation Week's defense blog

From The Archives

Aviation Week is approaching its 100th anniversary in 2016. In a series of blogs, our editors highlight editorial content from the magazine's long and rich history.

 

Aug 27, 2015
blog

Aviation Week Lifts Veil On Boeing B-52 Bomber (1952) 16

In 1952, Aviation Week provided the first details on the new Boeing B-52 bomber....More
Aug 14, 2015
blog

Bonanza Travel Pays 3

The legendary Beechcraft Bonanza has an impressive production record, so perhaps the marketers back in 1949 were onto something when they coined the phrase "Bonanza travel pays."...More
Aug 14, 2015
blog

Venerable Boeing 727 Prototype To Fly Again 28

The most famous 727, the prototype aircraft which would join United as N7001U, was delivered to the airline in October 1964 having served its time as a Boeing test aircraft....More
Aug 13, 2015
blog

Aviation Week And The Bomb

Aviation News did not predict how nuclear weapons would change the world. But neither did anyone else....More
Aug 13, 2015
blog

Collins Radar Takes The Ups And Downs Out Of Flying

Turbulence? Rockwell Collins had a solution for those bumpy rides in the early 80s with its WXR-700 Doppler Weather Radar....More
Blog Archive
Penton Corporate

Sponsored Introduction Continue on to (or wait seconds) ×