Expatica news

Netherlands refuses to pay more for JSF

27 May 2004

AMSTERDAM — The Netherlands has refused to pay “one extra cent” for the development of the JSF jet fighter, a Dutch defence minister has warned his American counterpart, it was reported Thursday.

Dutch deputy Defence Minister Cees van der Knaap delivered the news during talks with his US opposite number Michael Wynne, news agency ANP reported.

The Netherlands agreed in 2002 — following long debate — to contribute USD 800 million (EUR 660 million) to the cost of developing the next generation of jet fighters. In return, industry in the Netherlands, and several other countries, were to receive orders to work on some of the jet’s components.

In addition, the contributing countries plan to purchase the JSF to replace their aging fleets of fighters. The Netherlands wants the JSF to replace its F-16s from 2010.

The total costs for the JSF’s development have risen from the initial projection of USD 7 billion to USD 40 billion, but the Dutch contribution has remained unchanged. The estimated cost of the entire JSF project from development to production has risen to USD 245 billion.

The estimated price for each JSF plane has risen from USD 38 million to USD 42.6 million, meaning the Netherlands will buy fewer planes, probably 65 to 85.

At the end of April, Norway threatened it might abandon the JSF project unless it gets a bigger share of development work. Dutch companies and politicians have also expressed annoyance at the amount of work sent here.

In a letter to the Dutch Parliament, Van der Knaap said a large portion of the increased costs are due to higher pension, health insurance and insurance costs in the US.

Van der Knaap is to shortly go before Parliament with details of the problems with the project and the various types of JSF which will be on offer.

But the minister has dismissed criticism of the amount of work given to the Dutch aviation industry, blaming negative remarks on “some members of Parliament”.

Opponents to the JSF project have long warned that the eventual development costs would be far higher than projected and much of the work initially promised to Dutch industry would never materialise.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news