Netherlands may buy fewer Joint Strike Fighters
The Dutch parliament wants to buy fewer Joint Strike Fighters than the 85 originally planned. Although the final decision will not be taken until the next cabinet is in office, Dutch daily reports that the main political parties are having second thoughts in view of the forthcoming public spending cuts and the ever-increasing costs of the warplane.
Christian Democrat MP Raymond Knops says, "For us the number 85 is not set in stone." The VVD, the senior coalition party, commented "we need to keep our options open for the future."
Geert Wilders' Freedom party, which has a pact with the coalition, would prefer 56 planes or less, while the opposition Labour Party, Socialist Party and Green Left all want fewer JSFs or none at all. The opposition Democrats 66 say it would be "logical" to reduce the size of the order.
The cabinet intends to buy a second test plane before it commits itself. The Netherlands has reserved 6.2 billion euros over the next 30 years for the US jet fighter, which is intended to replace its ageing F-16s.
© Radio Netherlands Worldwide