The purchase of new fighter aircraft to replace Denmark’s aging F-16s has been delayed until 2014, according to the country’s defence ministry.

The ministry made the decision after analysing the Danish Air Force’s existing fleet of 46 Lockheed F-16 fighter jets, according to Reuters.

A statement from the ministry said that it would retire 18 of its current F-16 Falcons and extend the service lives of its 30 remaining F-16s beyond 2016.

Preliminary results show it is possible to fly two to four years longer with the F-16s than originally planned, the ministry said.

In 2009 the ministry said it would replace the Danish air force’s aging F-16s with F-35 joint strike fighters, F/A-18E/F Super Hornets or Saab Gripens.

The decision was recently pushed to 2010 due to concerns over delays and cost overruns in the F-35 programme.

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Defence Minister Gitte Lillelund Bech said it made common sense to wait a few years before deciding which plane to buy.