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The State Secretary at the Dutch Ministry of Defense Barbara Visser informed today the Parliament in writing, that the Ministry intends to purchase nine additional F-35A of the US manufacturer Lockheed Martin. The F-35 fleet of the Dutch Air Force thus grows to 46 aircrafts. The additional aircraft lay the foundation for the formation of a third F-35 squadron of the Dutch Air Force, which, according to the ministry, must be able to monitor Dutch airspace around the clock.

At the same time, the armed forces must be able to carry out a long-term mission with up to four aircraft. The expansion of the aircraft fleet by nine additional aircrafts, including personnel, will considerably reduce the strain on the soldiers and the individual aircrafts during longer missions.

In addition to the new aircrafts, a logistics package including training equipment will also be procured. The costs are estimated at around 1 billion euros.

The Ministry points out that additional infrastructure is needed for the nine aircrafts, some of which would probably suffice to adapt the existing infrastructure. However, new buildings will also be needed.

The F-35 will replace the F-16, which is operated by the Dutch Air Force since 1979.

Waldemar Geiger