Netherlands to Buy Additional F-35s

The Netherlands will procure up to eight or nine additional F-35 combat aircraft to bolster its planned buy of 37 fighters, according to Defense Minister Ank Bijleveld. The precise figure to be ordered will be determined by the Euro-USD exchange rate.

The Netherlands entered the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program as a Level 2 partner and its roots in the combat aircraft’s development stretch back to 1997. The jet fighter was long seen as the logical successor to the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) legacy fleet of F-16s.

The coalition government of Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced what had long been considered a foregone conclusion on September 17, 2013, when it unveiled plans to procure a fleet of F-35s via a EUR4.5 billion ($6 billion) special budget earmarked for the project (the estimate was revised upward to $5.2 billion in September 2015).

The Dutch F-35s will be gradually brought into service between 2019 and 2024 as the F-16s are retired. Dutch industry will benefit from the knock-on effect of the F-35 program by serving as the F-35 spare parts center, and as the engine maintenance-repair-overhaul-upgrade and distribution hub for Europe.

The Netherlands plans to earmark from EUR600-EUR700 million ($674-$787 million) toward the extra batch purchase of F-35s.


About Daniel Darling

Dan Darling is Forecast International’s director of military and defense markets. In this role, Dan oversees a team of analysts tasked with covering everything from budgeting to weapons systems to defense electronics and military aerospace. Additionally, for over 17 years Dan has, at various times, authored the International Military Markets reports for Europe, Eurasia, the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region. Dan's work has been cited in Defense News, Real Clear Defense, Asian Military Review, Al Jazeera, and Financial Express, among others, and he has also contributed commentary to The Diplomat, The National Interest and World Politics Review. He has been quoted in Arabian Business, the Financial Times, Flight International, The New York Times, Bloomberg and National Defense Magazine. In addition, Dan has made guest appearances on the online radio show Midrats and on The Media Line, as well as The Red Line Podcast, plus media appearances on France 24 and World Is One News (WION).

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