Letter to Parliament (excerpt)
(Source: Dutch Ministry of Defence; issued Oct. 7, 2008)
(Issued in Dutch only; unofficial translation by defense-aerospace.com)
As a result of the general consultation of 1 October last, I am informing you of the decision by Italy concerning its participation to the Initial Operational Test And Evaluation (IOT& E) of the JSF. (…/…)

Recently the Italian project director has informed the Dutch, American and British partners that Italy will abandon its participation to the IOT& E and, with that, also of the purchase of the first test aircraft this year.

As a reason, the new [Italian] government has invoked the need to reduce expenditure.

The Italian decision has no financial consequences for the Netherlands.

Moreover, the Italian government has reaffirmed its explicit support for the JSF program, and has confirmed the Italian participation to the System Development & Demonstration (SDD) phase.

Dr. Jack (J.G.) de Vries
State Secretary for Defence

Click here for the full letter to Parliament (in Dutch; 3 pages in PDF format) on the Dutch MoD website.

(UPDATE: EDITOR’S NOTE: A spokesman for the Italian National Armaments Director confirmed on Oct. 10 Italy's withdrawal from the IOT&E phase.)


The JSF, Italy and Europe
(Source: Alenia Aeronautica); issued Oct. 7, 2008)
The [Rome-based] Institute for International Affairs presented the results of its research on the Italian and European participation in the F-35 program at a conference held yesterday in Rome. The Joint Strike Fighter is the fifth generation fighter intended to allow air forces to meet 21st century operational requirements, but also today’s largest aeronautical program, with potential sales running into the thousands.

Italy joined the program very early as a Tier II partner, just behind the United Kingdom, and is the candidate to host the only Final Assembly and Check-Out facility outside the US. In the past weeks Alenia Aeronautica signed the first contract for wing production, for which it will be the second source supplier with a potential run of 1,200 wings.

The importance of the JSF was underscored by the high-level attendance at the conference, which ranged from Undersecretary for Defence Giuseppe Cossiga, to the Chairman of the Defense Committee of the Italian Chamber of Representatives and the Chief of the Defense Staff Gen. Vincenzo Camporini, who spoke together with industry representatives Remo Pertica, Chairman of the Italian Aerospace and Defense Industries Association, and Giovanni Bertolone, CEO of Alenia Aeronautica.

The speakers all stressed that the research – coordinated for IAI by Michele Nones with Giovanni Gasparini and Alessandro Marrone and sponsored by Alenia – stands out for its rigorous methodology and objective approach. The IAI paper confirms the great operational value of the JSF, including its ability to operate away from its home base with minimal logistic support, but also highlights some of the positive and negative aspects of the program.

These include on one hand the technological progress (starting from netweork-centric capabilities and stealthiness) and great industrial potential; on the other hand, there are still some critical issues relating to transferring technologies (also related to industrial roles) and the bureaucracy which might make it difficult to ensure the timely flow of parts in an international program, but also to the need for European countries to increase their cooperation to increase their bargaining power.

The speakers underlined how all these aspects are crucial if Europe is to reap the opportunities that the Joint Strike Fighter program can offer Italy and Europe.


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