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Netherlands first stop as F-35 makes European debut

Maj. Laurens Vijge, a Royal Netherlands Air Force pilot, salutes his Lockheed Martin crew chief as he taxis out for the first flight in the F-35A Lightning II in December 2013 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. The joint strike fighter is slated to make its international debut at the Leeuwarden Air Show in the Netherlands in June.

U.S. AIR FORCE PHOTO

By STARS AND STRIPES Published: April 14, 2016

KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is slated to make its international debut at the Leeuwarden Air Show in the Netherlands in June, Defense News reported Wednesday, one of several European appearances planned for the world’s most expensive jet this summer.

At least one Dutch F-35A will be on static display at Leeuwarden on June 10-11, and the Dutch air force may do a flight demonstration of the plane along with Dutch F-16s, said Lt. Col. Sidney Plankman, a Royal Netherlands Air Force spokesman, according to Defense News.

The Dutch currently have two F-35As flying at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.

In July, two U.S. Air Force F-35As and two U.S. Marine Corps F-35Bs are scheduled to fly over from Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., to participate in two air shows in the United Kingdom, the Royal International Air Tattoo and Farnborough Air Show.

The F-35 was supposed to participate in the U.K. air shows two years ago, but the appearances were canceled at the last minute when the Defense Department grounded its F-35 fleet after one of them caught fire while preparing to take off at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.

The appearances in England this summer will mark the first time the U.S. Air Force sends an F-35 to an overseas air show, Air Force officials have said.

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A Royal Netherlands Air Force F-35A Lightning II lifts off from Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., for its first flight Dec. 18, 2013. The joint strike fighter is slated to make its international debut at the Leeuwarden Air Show in the Netherlands in June.
U.S. AIR FORCE PHOTO

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