AFP
The Netherlands to Acquire Eight or Nine Extra F-35 Fighter Jets

The Netherlands to Acquire Eight or Nine Extra F-35 Fighter Jets July 20, 2019

The Netherlands buys new F35 fighter jets. It is probably eight or nine. They come on top of the 37 that the previous cabinet had already decided on. And with the next cabinet, the defence budget will have to rise again. We are also obliged to do so within NATO, "says Defence Minister Ank Bijleveld in an interview with Trouw .

Within NATO we still dangle at the bottom in terms of spending. So we will have to take extra steps. Next year we will have a recalibration of the defence bill. That should be ready by the spring 2020 memorandum, "the minister said in the newspaper. At the end of last year , she announced  that, in addition to the 37, the cabinet would like to purchase around 15 F-35s as part of five priorities: expanding fire power on land and at sea, strengthening special forces and cyber capacity.

According to Bijleveld, the exact number of F-35 aircraft that is purchased depends on the exchange rate of the dollar at the time of purchase. They are paid from the one and a half billion euros that the Cabinet set aside extra for the armed forces.

The Netherlands initially wanted to stick to 37 F-35s, which amounts to two so-called squadrons. But to meet the wishes of the United States, NATO urged the Netherlands to purchase a third squadron.

Bijleveld reports that it will be eight or nine extra aircraft in the interview with Trouw on the day that Prime Minister Mark Rutte visits the American president Donald Trump. Defence and security are another topic for discussion on Thursday afternoon, just like international trade.

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