Netherlands to buy 37 F-35 jet fighters
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
FORT WORTH, Texas — The Netherlands plans to buy 37 F-35 joint strike fighter planes from Lockheed Martin, the European country announced on Tuesday.
The Dutch government will use the planes, which are made at Lockheed's facility in Fort Worth, to replace their aging F-16 fleet which they expect to phase out by 2023.
With the announcement, Lockheed Martin said the Netherlands is the seventh country to buy the next-generation fighter jet.
"This decision confirms the value of acquiring a transformational 5th Generation fighter capability, and is testimony to the Netherlands confidence in the program," the defense contractor said in a statement.
According to a Reuters article, the Dutch initially planned to buy 85 F-35 aircraft but decided to scale back the order because of budget cuts and concerns about the rising costs of the F-35. Some Dutch politicians had suggested the Dutch military should look at other jet fighters such as the EADS Eurofighter and Boeing's F-18 instead.
The order could grow if the F-35 costs are lowered.
"If, within the given financial parameters, room is created in the coming years to purchase more aircraft, the Defence organisation will do so. This may be the case if the contingency reserve is not used in full and if the price per unit of the F-35 turns out to be lower than is currently expected," the Dutch government said in a statement.