The Dutch Ministry of Defence has formalised an agreement with Pratt & Whitney to establish an organic F135 engine maintenance, repair, overhaul and upgrade (MRO&U) shop at the Royal Netherlands Air Force’s Woensdrecht Logistics Centre with the goal of supporting Lockheed Martin F-35 operations by 2019.
The depot at Woensdrecht Air Base currently maintains the Pratt-built F100 powerplant for the F-16 and is now preparing for the introduction of the F135-powered F-35.
The Netherlands was selected by the Pentagon last December to support F-35 heavy engine maintenance in Europe along with Turkey and Norway.
“As we prepare for an increase in F135 engine production, we need partners who demonstrate the high levels of technical capabilities that are required to support the F135 internationally,” P&W military engines president Bennett Croswell said in a 21 September statement.
The first Royal Netherlands Air Force F-35A receives its P&W F135 powerplant at the final assembly and checkout facility in Fort Worth, Texas, in 2012.
“The Netherlands MOD's participation in MRO&U will ensure we have robust sustainment capability in the European region."
The Netherlands has already ordered two test aircraft and another eight F-35s are on contract for delivery by 2019. The current requirement if for 37 jets.
Along with supporting the F-16 programme, Woensdrecht also services the Pilatus PC-7 fixed-wing trainer as well as Dutch armed forces' CH-47, AH-64, Cougar and NH-90 helicopter fleets.
“The MRO&U stand-up contract is the next important step towards the Netherlands' goal to provide P&W and the F-35 operators with world-class F135 MRO&U services by the end of 2019,” says Woensdrecht Logistics Centre commander Royal Netherlands Air Force Air Commodore Mario Verbeek.