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Dutch worry over F-35 costs

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Armée de l'Air:

--- Quote ---Dutch worry over F-35 costs

The cost of the F-35A for the Royal Netherlands Air Force faces a “considerable increase”.

September 24: In a statement to the Dutch parliament, the Minister of Defence Eimert van says that the cost of the F-35A for the Royal Netherlands Air Force faces a “considerable increase” and that the impact on the F-16 Replacement Project will also be “considerable”.

Van Middelkoop said that since the last report in 2009 the average cost per aircraft has risen from $69.2 million (€51.4 million) to $92.4 million (€68.6 million). To offset some of this cost the Dutch Ministry of Defence has pushed back the first delivery two years from 2014 to 2016.

Current plans are for 85 F-35As to be purchased in two batches (57 and 28 aircraft) to replace the entire F-16 fleet of 100 aircraft. - Air Forces Monthly
--- End quote ---

It looks as if the whole F-35 idea begins its downfall...

I've been in this country, monitoring JSF news since the beginning, and it's laughable.. even frustrating at times to hear the "experts". They've always believed whatever Lockheed told them, and then if Lockheed tells someone else something different, they keep using the old info. First it happened with the overestimate on what JSF sales will be, when they needed investment from industry. The quoted price has always been underestimated in my opinion. I hate to do it, but this latest news is more of "I said so". They're still not there yet.

This is a $100 million jet for the USAF, that means it will be at least €100 million for export customers, no matter how great the usd-eur exchange rate is. And I'm afraid the so-called "fly away" will be much more like €125-140, and then the teething problems kick in...

It will be like the Typhoon/Rafale "off-the-shelf, ready to fly" price tag, options which were prematurely "cut".

Delaying the deliveries is only a bandaid...which was needed anyway because of the cut backs due to the crisis.

The real solution will be...further cuts in numbers. This of course will mean a rise in the "per unit" price. Forget about the 28 options, 57 will be max. I predict to see two squadrons axed when the F-16 goes out. 57 will give three squadrons a "full" complement of 15 aircraft, the fourth squadron will have 12 (training). I wouldn't be surprised if that's further cut "because of the high unit cost", they'll say, while it's actually "we can't afford stealth fighters" plus "need to cut defense". Eventually we'll "end up" with 12 planes per squadron, and 8 for training ("there's this brilliant simulator anyway"). So: 44 aircraft.

Sign the contract, get on with it, 44 jets fixed price contract, it won't be too many, why not order now... finally get some orders in for domestic industry to get subcontracted ASAP, they could use it in these times. The RNLAF will have its F-35 no matter what, ok, then cut two squadrons... Nonetheless, we'll have the best fighter in the world...for the time being.

But... of course my suggestion can't happen, because we haven't got a government!

Sorry for the ranting!

shawn a:
At least you folks aren't getting the "Rhino Beetle" version, are you?
Here's what Bill Sweetman had to say about the F-35B
"You design a jet with seven medium to large doors that all will have to open in a combination of high airflow, vibration, noise and heat. If they don't close perfectly after takeoff, the aircraft is no longer stealthy. If one of them won't open for transition, the jet can't recover to the carrier."
Consider yourselves lucky  ;)
Does anyone know if the -B model could make an emergency landing on a full size aircraft carrier?
Are any of the three models capable of supercruise? (What I'm curious about is-- after releasing the paltry few weapons they carry, will they be able to run away without turning on their afterburners and giving away their position with that bright yellow afterburner flame?) That damn flame makes a strong case for using the longest range stand-off weapons available.
My dos centavos worth.
Shawn A

True, just the basic A is complicated enough!

Armée de l'Air:
Well, whether the final price of the F-35 will be high or low it won’t matter unless one looks at the cost-effective side of it.
Personally, I see the whole program as just another Lockheed attempt to secure a production/selling contract. Nothing wrong with that. What I do have a problem with is the kind of countries this contract tries to attract. I mean, after all to judge, the JSF will presumably be a multi-role fighter a little less complicated then the F-22 (I’ll never believe that it will be better then the Raptor). But all in all, the F-35 will prove itself to be a lot more complex (not necessarily better) then its competition – i.e. JAS 39 Gripen, EF-2000, Rafale or SU-35/37. What I can’t figure is what can countries like Switzerland, Denmark, Holland or Belgium do with the F-35. Relatively small countries for which the JSF is wayyyy to much! Or another piece of news announced Romania (?) as a wish-for F-35 country. Hilarious, really. These countries not only have small air-territories that could easily be covered and defended by an aircraft as the Gripen for example, but also that their possible enemies are all but inexistent. What good will F-35 do to them?
A country should consider military contracts first and foremost out of their own defensive needs, or at least this was the thumb rule in the past. Or this idea dropped sharply from the priorities list?  :o


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