The Netherlands' new coalition government is expected to maintain the nation's commitment to the test phase of Lockheed Martin's F-35 programme, although a decision on whether the type will replace its Lockheed F-16s will not be made for several more years.

A conceptual agreement made by the right-wing VVD and PVV parties and the Christian Democrats to form a new cabinet includes plans to buy a second F-35 test aircraft in 2011 and to fully participate in the Joint Strike Fighter's operational test and evaluation.

A ruling on further Dutch participation in the F-35 programme had been put on hold earlier this year, following the collapse of the nation's last coalition cabinet.

An order for a first test aircraft was not cancelled, but a decision on acquiring the second was postponed until a new government was in place.

Source: Flight International