Today, State Secretary for Economic Affairs and Climate Policy Mona Keijzer received the first Dutch F-35 aircraft on behalf of the Dutch government in Fort Worth in the US. The Dutch Air Force already received two test versions in 2012 and has ordered a total of 37 aircraft.
The production and maintenance of the F-35 has already yielded €1.4 billion in contracts and turnover to Dutch businesses and knowledge institutions.
In the coming years, the production turnover to be achieved is estimated to reach an additional 9 billion euros. The F-35 is also expected to provide an additional 15 to 20 billion euros in maintenance contracts and more than 1,600 permanent jobs in the Netherlands in the future.
This year, the European logistics centre OneLogistics will also open in Woensdrecht, involving over seventy Dutch companies.
According to State Secretary Keijzer, “The transfer offered by producer Lockheed Martin is a milestone for the Ministry of Defence. At the same time, it marks a billion-euro boost to our economy and employment. Dutch businesses and knowledge institutions, from SMEs to large enterprises, manufacture high-tech components and systems for the F-35 or will later take care of maintenance. This is an excellent example of how international cooperation contributes to our own economy.”
New contracts signed
After the official ceremony, the added economic value of the F-35s became immediately evident to the Netherlands. In the presence of the State Secretary, two US companies – producer Lockheed Martin and aircraft engine builder Pratt & Whitney – signed contracts worth millions of euros with GKN Fokker. The Dutch company will produce electrical cabling for the F-35s and supply composites for cladding the so-called ‘turbofan’, the aircraft's jet engine.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: According to the statement, the Dutch government expects that Dutch companies, which have already won €1.4 billion in F-35 production contracts, to win 9 billion more, for a total of €10.4 billion – assuming, of course, that they remain competitive and can retain the contracts, which are normally re-competed every 5 years.
If the estimate of an additional €15 - 20 billion in maintenance contracts is right, the F-35 program would generate up to €25 - €30 billion in revenue for Dutch industry, which is four to five times as much as the Netherlands will pay to buy their planned 37 F-35s (€4.7 billion at 2014 prices).
However, the maintenance workload would be generated whatever aircraft the Dutch buy, so the real industrial return on the F-35 program is the hypothetical €10.4 billion production work.)