Dassault and Eurofighter have told a Netherlands parliamentary defence committee that their proposals to supply fighters to the Royal Netherlands Air Force were not seriously considered by the economic affairs ministry when assessing bids to supply a future fighter.

The comments came last week during a committee hearing on the cabinet's decision to join the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter systems development and demonstration (SDD) phase. Evidence was also given by government organisations, Lockheed Martin and the JSF programme office. Parliament is due to make a final decision on 2 April.


As part of its evidence, the CPB, the Netherlands economic policy analysis office, issued a report recommending an off-the-shelf acquisition in 2007 rather than committing now to a Lockheed Martin F-16 replacement.

The CPB reports that paying $800 million to join JSF SDD "involves risks and a loss of flexibility compared to a situation in which the options are kept open until 2007". The CPB also says although participation can be shown to add value to the economy, the net effect "is expected to be negligibly small".

Aloysius Rauen, president of Eurofighter partner, EADS Military Aircraft, told the committee that Fokker and Thales Netherlands would benefit directly from the Netherlands joining the Eurofighter programme.

The consortium warned, however, that "a decision by Netherlands industry to exclusively support a US based competitor would adversely affect the nature of the relationship between some Netherlands suppliers for current and future programmes with the Eurofighter partner companies such as Airbus."

A letter from the defence and deputy defence ministers, the economic affairs and finance ministers to the committee recommended joining JSF on military and economic grounds. The four say the JSF is the cheapest to buy and operate, followed by the Eurofighter and then Rafale.

Source: Flight International