Cabinet: Dutch JSFs May Drop Nuclear Bombs
(Source: RTL News; posted April 18, 2019)
(Unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com)
The new F-35 fighter aircraft must also be able to drop nuclear weapons. Minister Blok of Foreign Affairs and Minister Bijleveld of Defense write this in a letter to the House of Representatives.

D66 party chairman Jetten had opposed this intention in January, but the Netherlands must comply with its NATO obligations, the cabinet writes.

Nuclear tasking

The current Dutch combat aircraft, the F-16, also fulfilled that task. The Netherlands is one of the NATO allies with a special nuclear task. These allies have planes that can throw off nuclear weapons. For years it has also been a public secret that Volkel nuclear weapons are stored at the airbase.

The Netherlands wants to continue to fulfill that task within NATO, while at the same time actively focusing on nuclear-free Europe, the cabinet wrote in a letter. In addition, the Netherlands wants to bet on a large disarmament commission within the UN context. The aim should be that our country no longer has to fulfill the nuclear weapons task in the long term, but it is not there yet.

It is about "the withdrawal of all Russian and American sub-strategic nuclear weapons from all over Europe - from the Atlantic to the Urals", Blok and Bijleveld write.

Nuclear arms race

The previous House of Representatives was in majority against the nuclear task for the F-35, against the wishes of the then cabinet. The cabinet's most important adviser on foreign policy, the Advisory Council on International Affairs (AIV), wrote in January that the F-35 should retain its nuclear weapons task.

The AIV is concerned about an impending nuclear arms race, even now that Russia and the US want to remove an important treaty from the Cold War.

D66 is not in favor

In February, D66 party leader Jetten said in the Radio1 program Met Het Oog Op Morgen that he is 'not in favor' of nuclear bombs on Dutch aircraft.

"I much prefer a debate about better European defense cooperation. Participating in the race with nuclear weapons on our planes does not contribute to a safer world."
"Don't be naive"

Nevertheless, the government remains behind the nuclear task, also because the Netherlands does not want to say 'no' in a NATO context. "A long period of relative stability and predictability in Europe seems to be over," write the ministers.

"We cannot afford to be naive about the changing context and implications for the Netherlands."

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