* Lockheed Martin, Airbus and Boeing are still in the race
* The order could be worth up 30 bln DKK ($5.4 bln)
(Adds statements from Danish and Swedish authorities)
COPENHAGEN, July 21 Swedish defence company Saab
has dropped out of a tender to supply Denmark with up
to 30 fighter jets, the Danish Defence Ministry said on Monday,
confirming an earlier report.
Lockheed Martin Corp, Airbus and Boeing Co
have all submitted binding documents in the tender, but
Saab, which had also qualified to do so, chose not to make a
bid, the ministry said in a statement.
Earlier, Danish daily Politiken said Saab had decided to
drop out of the tender, potentially worth $5.5 billion, because
it expected Lockheed Martin's F-35 Joint Strike Fighters to win
Saab referred all media inquiries to a statement from the
Swedish Defence and Security Export Agency, which said it had
chosen not to bid after analysing the conditions of the tender.
"The conclusion not to submit an offer is based on a joint
assessment of the government and the industry," the agency said.
Denmark has been involved in the development of the F-35
since 1996 and this has led to orders for Danish subcontractors
from Lockheed Martin.
The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is the most expensive defence
programme in U.S. history and Denmark is one of nine partner
nations involved. The plane is designed to replace thousands of
aging F-16s and other warplanes.
Submitting binding information to the government is a step
in the tender process. Danish politicians are expected to begin
discussions on who should win the tender in mid-2015.
($1 = 5.5141 Danish Crowns)
(Reporting by Teis Jensen and Ole Mikkelsen; Editing by Jason
Neely and Sophie Walker)