The Netherlands plans to buy nine more F-35 stealth aircraft, laying the foundations for a third squadron of the stealthy jets, APA reports quoting sputniknews.
On Tuesday, the Dutch government announced it would be buying nine of the jets in a €1 billion ($1.09 billion) deal with manufacturer Lockheed Martin, Defense News reported. That’s $121.1 million per aircraft, a hefty step toward the NATO ally spending 2% of its GDP on defense, as demanded of alliance members by US President Donald Trump.
Last December, The Hague announced it would procure another 15-jet squadron for the Royal Netherlands Air Force in the coming year on top of the 37 F-35As already purchased.
“Extra investment in defense is a necessity because our surrounding safety zone has become a more unstable place. There are more threats to contend with, and threats have become more complex,” the Dutch Defense Ministry said at the time.
However, those jets aren’t flying around in Europe: they’re at Edwards Air Force Base in California, where F-35 training takes place. Even then, only a handful have even been delivered, according to Lockheed Martin’s website for news about the jet.
The Hague wants the F-35 to replace its aging fleet of 60 General Dynamics F-16 Falcons, another US-made jet widely exported to its allies.