Dutch JSFs axed, F-16s prolonged?
Dutch parliament has carried a motion to end the Dutch participation in the JSF project. The Ministry of Defence announced it would wait with further steps until after the 12 September parliamentary elections. But the parties who supported the motion will, according to the latest polls, probably get an even larger majority in the Dutch House of Commons (in The Netherlands called the Second Chamber). So far, the Dutch air force had the intention of buying 85 Lockheed F-35s. But even if the Dutch Ministry of Defence can go ahead with the project, it is more than likely the number of JSFs for the Netherlands will be reduced, as the number of F-16s currently in use has already been cut back to 65 (with just 65 operational pilots). So far the Netherlands has payed for one JSF via the US government. Postponing a decision and looking for an alternative (the Saab Grippen and Boeing F-15SE Silent Eagle are likely contenders) may mean the service life of the remaining 65 Dutch F-16s will be extended.
This photo of Lockheed Martin F-16A Block 20 MLU c/n 6D-173 (produced by the former Fokker factory in 1991 at Schiphol Amsterdam airport with local c/n L-296) and U.S. Senate appropriation number 89-0017 of the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) 322 squadron with registration J-017 was photographed during NATO exercise Frisian Flag at Leeuwarden air base in The Netherlands (EHLW) on 26 April 2012. The emblem of 322 squadron is a parrot called "Polly Grey", named after the parrot one of the crew menbers bought in England during WWII as a squadron mascotte. The device of 322 squadron is: "Don't talk, but do it!".
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