Dutch to Buy Fewer F-35 Jets Than Planned –Minister (excerpt)
(Source: Reuters; published April 15, 2012)
AMSTERDAM --- The Netherlands will buy fewer than the 85 Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets it had planned to acquire because costs have risen and the country needs to replace fewer F-16 fighters, the Dutch defence minister said on Sunday.

The costs of developing and building the F-35, which will replace F-16 fighters, have been rising. Japan and a U.S. Air Force official have warned they may order fewer planes if costs go up further.

Asked on Dutch television programme Buitenhof if the Netherlands still planned to buy 85 F-35 planes despite higher costs, Dutch Defence Minister Hans Hillen said: "The next cabinet will decide. It will certainly be fewer."

The Netherlands had planned to buy a total of 85 F-35 planes over the period 2019 to 2027, the Dutch Defence Ministry said in a letter to parliament last year. The ministry has reserved 4.5 billion euros to replace the existing F-16 fighters.

Hillen declined to say how many F-35s the Netherlands would buy instead but said fewer F-16s needed to be replaced.

"When we signed up (for the F-35) we took the number of F-16s at the time as a basis. When I became minister we had around 90 F-16s. Now we have 68," Hillen said. (end of excerpt)


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Netherlands ‘Almost Certain’ to Order Less JSF Jets
(Source: Radio Netherlands; posted April 15, 2012)
Even if the next cabinet decided in favour of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF/F-35) to replace the country’s aging fleet of F-16's, it would almost certainly order fewer planes than initially planned.

Defence Minister Hans Hillen made this remark on Sunday in the current affairs show Buitenhof.

The current plans call for the purchase of 85 JSFs. However, the recent price increases are bound to have their effect on the planned purchase. “The number is sure to be adjusted downward, but by how many remains to be seen,” the minister said.

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