Italy Assembling the First F-35 for the Netherlands
(Source: Dutch Ministry of Defence; issued June 15, 2018)
(Issued in Dutch; unofficial translation by
Dutch State Secretary for Defense Barbara Visser visits the first Dutch Air Force F-35A being assembled at the Italian facility at Cameri; she was accompanied by Arie Jan de Waard, the director of the Defense Matériel Organization (R). (NL MoD photo)
The first European-built F-35 fighter aircraft for the Netherlands has been in the making since today. The aircraft is expected to arrive in The Netherlands at the end of next year. Both other aircraft were built in the United States and are still flying there. In total, the Netherlands is buying 37. The official name is F-35 Lightning II.

Secretary of State for Defense Barbara Visser gave a symbolic start signal for construction in the F-35 plant in Cameri. She did so by placing her signature on the airframe of aircraft AN-9. This number indicates that it is a standard F-35. The Italians are building a total of 29 aircraft destined for the Netherlands. The remaining 8 are from the Lockheed Martin plant in Fort Worth in the US, which has already delivered the first two.

Earlier this week, the 300th aircraft was delivered to the customer. A total of 197 A-models have now been produced. In addition, there is the B-model, short takeoff and vertical landing, of which 75 have now been rolled off the assembly line. Suitable for operating from aircraft carriers there is also a C variant, 28 of which have been delivered to date.

The countries that the F-35 are now using are: Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States (plus Australia, Japan and Norway –Ed.)

Preparation for F-35 arrival

The first F-35s for the Netherlands will land at Leeuwarden Air Base as their home base. The air force is now fully preparing to take these new fighter planes into use. This requires, among other things, ICT support. This is done via the so-called Autonomic Logistics Information System, ALIS for short, which forms the heart of the F-35.

With ALIS you can see everything and anything that has to do with an F-35. Think of necessary maintenance or a signal that a part needs to be replaced. What is special is that via ALIS an F-35 can be followed on the other side of the world.

That is why it is not necessary for the system to be placed on the Frisian base, but instead at Volkel Air Base. There, the installation of all necessary equipment is in full swing and the job is expected to be completed next week. From then on, Volkel will also support both Dutch F-35s that are stationed in the United States. As soon as the first aircraft lands on Leeuwarden, it will be added to the Dutch Air Force’s ALIS network.


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