Netherlands buys second JSF test plane

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The Dutch Lower House has approved the purchase of a second Joint Strike fighter test plane. The government proposal was approved by a majority consisting of the conservative VVD, Christian democrat CDA, Freedom Party en Orthodox SGP.

The 270 million euro purchase of the two JSFs comes only days after the cabinet announced a one billion euro cut in the Defence budget.

The decision paves the way for the purchase of a series of JSF planes, but Defence Minister Hans Hillen and Economic Affairs Minister Maxime Verhagen stressed that a final decision on a new jet fighter would be taken by the next cabinet.

However, the opposition believes that the purchase of a second test plane means the Netherlands is now committed to buying the Joint Strike Fighter as a replacement for its fleet of aging F-16s.

Minister Hillen said the Netherlands could still withdraw from the JSF project, even though this would cost about 270 million euros, the same amount the Netherlands will have to pay for the two test JSF planes and to join the JSF pilot training programme.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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