* 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 (Reuters) - 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 the bid.
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