• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Dutch Parliament Votes to Ditch the Joint Strike Fighter

    The bad news: This week the Dutch parliament voted to scrap Dutch participation in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program.

    The good news: Since the Dutch government dissolved back in April, and there will be a general election later in the year, the vote is non-binding. Nevertheless, this should serve as a wake-up call to the Obama Administration.

    As part of Obama’s defense cuts, in January 2012 the U.S. announced a delay of five years for its first batch of 179 JSF aircraft. Sadly, many of America’s allies have interpreted this delay as a vote of no confidence for the JSF program. This has had consequences.

    The United Kingdom has reduced and delayed its order of JSF. Italy has cut its acquisition of JSFs from 131 planes to 90. The future of Canada’s role in the JSF program has recently been thrown into doubt. Turkey, although continuing to pledge a total acquisition of 100 F-35s, has slowed down the pace of its order. Australia has announced it is delaying its purchase of the F-35.

    Understandably, the logic behind many of these cuts and delays by America’s allies is: “If the U.S. can delay and cut, why can’t we?” So much for America leading by example.

    For the Dutch, cancelling the JSF program would be a blow to NATO. The Dutch are one of the few NATO countries that actually has a capable air force that they are willing to use. The Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNAF) has provided close air support to NATO troops in Afghanistan, contributed to NATO’s Baltic air policing mission, and recently flew patrols over the skies of Libya.

    Without the JSF, the RNAF will be without a fast jet capability after 2025, when their F-16s are expected to leave service. If they choose to procure anything other than the JSF, put simply, it will be outdated before it leaves the tarmac.

    There is a nuclear deterrence aspect to this as well. Dutch F-16s and their F-35 replacements are dual-capable aircraft—meaning they can also deliver NATO’s tactical nuclear weapons if required. A Dutch failure to procure the F-35 would create an additional problem inside NATO regarding the future of its tactical nuclear weapons.

    From a purely economic point of view, a decision to cut the JSF would also mean cutting Dutch jobs. As part of the Dutch participation in the JSF program, the defense sector is expected to win several important contracts worth tens of millions of euros for the manufacture of various component parts of the JSF.

    It is anyone’s guess what will happen to the JSF program if sequestration kicks in early next year. If the U.S. keeps delaying or even cuts parts of the JSF program, America’s allies are likely to do the same. This would weaken NATO, weaken America, and embolden future adversaries.

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    17 Responses to Dutch Parliament Votes to Ditch the Joint Strike Fighter

    1. Rowdy Conservative says:

      Uh, with all due respect, the JSF has been a disaster and there is a reason for the delays and apprehension of our allies to fully buy into the Program.

      Over 10+ years and its still not even IOC and has numerous problems associated with it in all three versions. If anything, this is indeed a warning sign to the incredible prediction by Ike.. Beware of the military industrial complex.. And I work in the industry by the way.. JSF really needs some serious leadership and re-evaluation of just what we the taxpayers are getting. By the time it (if it ever does) go IOC, it will probably be obsolete itself.

    2. Guest says:

      That's fantastic news that the failed JSF Project has been ditched. I'm glad this happened which is good news.

      There are another options to replace the existing F-16A/B for the Dutch AF such as F-16V Viper (either Block 50/52 or Block 60/62), Eurofighter Typhoon or Dassault Rafale.

    3. Guest says:

      To President Barack Obama and Defence Secretary Leon Panetta.

      I don’t care what you two put your wish to claim the F-35 Joint Strike Failure is a right warplane is because you have NO DAMN CLUE what you’re talking about and absolutely got NO CLUE about air power. The JSF is certainly not a true 5th Generation Fighter, the lemon is a boondoggle. It’s now time to throw the failed turkey in the trash bin and see the rotten damn thing in the fire and see this rubbish burn for good.

      Your country is making a gigantic investment in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, billed by its advocates as the next — by their count the fifth — generation of air-to-air and air-to-ground combat aircraft. Claimed to be near invisible to radar and able to dominate any future battlefield, the F-35 will replace most of the air-combat aircraft in the inventories of the U.S. Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and at least nine foreign allies, and it will be in those inventories for the next 55 years. It’s no secret, however, that the program — the most expensive in American history — is a calamity.

    4. Guest says:

      To President Barack Obama and Defence Secretary Leon Panetta

      Last month, I've learned that the Pentagon has increased the price tag for the F-35 by another $289 million — just the latest in a long string of cost increases — and that the program is expected to account for a whopping 38 percent of Pentagon procurement for defence programs, assuming its cost will grow no more. Its many problems are acknowledged by its listing in proposals for Pentagon spending reductions by leaders from across the political spectrum, including Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), President Barack Obama’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, and budget gurus such as former Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) and Alice Rivlin, former director of the Congressional Budget Office and Office of Management and Budget.

      How bad is it? A review of the F-35′s cost, schedule, and performance — three essential measures of any Pentagon program — shows the problems are fundamental and still growing.

    5. Guest says:

      To President Barack Obama and Defence Secretary Leon Panetta

      First, with regard to cost — a particularly important factor in what politicians keep saying is an austere defence budget environment — the F-35 is simply unaffordable. Although the plane was originally billed as a low-cost solution, major cost increases have plagued the program throughout the last decade. Last year, Pentagon leadership told Congress the acquisition price had increased another 16 percent, from $328.3 billion to $379.4 billion for the 2,457 aircraft to be bought. Not to worry, however — they pledged to finally reverse the growth.

      The result? This February, the price increased another 4 percent to $395.7 billion and then even further in April. Don’t expect the cost overruns to end there: The test program is only 20 percent complete, the Government Accountability Office has reported, and the toughest tests are yet to come. Overall, the program’s cost has grown 75 percent from its original 2001 estimate of $226.5 billion — and that was for a larger buy of 2,866 aircraft.

    6. Guest says:

      To President Barack Obama and Defence Secretary Leon Penatta

      Hundreds of F-35s will be built before 2019, when initial testing is complete. The additional cost to engineer modifications to fix the inevitable deficiencies that will be uncovered is unknown, but it is sure to exceed the $534 million already known from tests so far. The total program unit cost for each individual F-35, now at $161 million, is only a temporary plateau. Expect yet another increase in early 2013, when a new round of budget restrictions is sure to hit the Pentagon, and the F-35 will take more hits in the form of reducing the numbers to be bought, thereby increasing the unit cost of each plane.

    7. Guest says:

      To President Barack Obama and Defence Secretary Leon Panetta

      What Tom, his colleagues from LM, most USAF/USN/USMC staff personals are
      telling you that the F-35 is a affordable true 5th Generation Fighter, maintainable and
      fixable than legacy fighters and strike bombers, a dream machine of claimed performance that
      would be unmatched by any other fifth-generation combat aircraft in the world today. The
      F-35 performs as designed, it would give South Korea and the allies an immense performance
      edge over Pyongyang and possibly even Beijing. Selecting the F-35 would also give South
      Korea a long-term warfighting machine that shares a common airframe with the US, Japan,
      Australia, and other Western nations – this is all thana marketing and completely BS
      explanations.

      I hope you people wake up.

    8. Guest says:

      Without the JSF is better, because the F-35 is such a huge mistake for Dutch's requirement at the first place.

      A Dutch failure to procure the F-35 would create an additional problem inside NATO regarding the future of its tactical nuclear weapons. That's completely false. The RNLAF will be stuck with an increasingly expensive aeroplane that will fail their air defence program if the F-35 wasn't ditched which will mean you'll be suffering the consequences.

    9. Guest says:

      Put it simply. Purchasing the failed F-35 will be a huge mistake for RNLAF, because they will be stuck with an increasingly expensive aeroplane that will fail their air defence program if F-35 program wasn't cancelled and you'll will suffer the consequences etc etc.

      New F-16V Vipers would do for the Netherlands. The F-35 will be an inferior alternative to the F-16. The RNLAF could negotiate for a stripped down air superiority version of the F-16, which would be an outstanding aero performer, the RNLAF could have a few F-16’s configured for deep-strike bombing as well as air superiority. The country should also purchase a ground support aeroplane like the A-10C Thunderbolt II or any CAS aircraft, which is considered a world-class close air support asset. They say it would improve their capacity to deal with Afghanistan in the event of a conflict. By avoiding the F-35 and opting for a more efficient air force with more aircrafts the opportunity for the country could be immense.

    10. Guest says:

      With a low-cost, high-effectiveness force mix like F-16Vs and A-10Cs, I reckon the pilots could afford to train aggressively at proper flying hour rates. With proper combined arms training with the their army, the Netherlands could have the most capable military in Western Europe and then perhaps American soldiers could come home from Afghanistan.

    11. Guest says:

      New F-16V Vipers would do for the Netherlands Air Force.

      The F-35A Lightning II JSF will be an inferior alternative to the F-16. The Dutch Government could negotiate for a stripped down air superiority version of the F-16, which would be an outstanding aero performer, and if it made the Afghanistan ‘strategists’ feel better, they could have a few F-16’s configured for deep-strike bombing of Afghanistan airfields and missile sites.”

      The Netherlands should also purchase a close air support aeroplane like the A-10C Thunderbolt II, which is considered a world-class bomber. They say it would improve their capacity to deal with Afghanistan in the event of a conflict. By avoiding the F-35 and opting for a more efficient air force with more aircrafts the opportunity for Netherlands could be immense.

      With a low-cost, high-effectiveness force mix like F-16Vs and A-10Cs, the pilots could afford to train aggressively at proper flying hour rates. With proper combined arms training with the Dutch army, the Nehterlands could have the most capable military in Western Europe and then perhaps American soldiers could come home.

    12. Guest says:

      Buying the F-35 is a really dumb idea. Of course the threats are continuing to evolve. That’s just a fact, and if you have the F-35s that just aren’t capable of dealing with the high threat zones, it just doesn’t do you any good of going ahead with the failed program and sink the money. Because the F-35A will be increasingly expensive aircraft that will fail their air defence program and there's absolutely no point of sticking with the F-35 because some hostile nations could well be purchasing The Nebo M Mobile “Counter Stealth” Radar.

      The Nebo M Counter Stealth Radar is an advanced digital solid state 3D multiple band radar intended to detect and track stealth aircraft at all altitudes and long range; VHF-Band, L-Band and C-Band antenna elements with digital track fusion modelled on the US Navy CEC system and STAP modelled on E-2D Hawkeye; Nebo M components carried by high offroad mobility 8×8 BAZ-6909 vehicles; Stow and deploy times ~15 minutes, possibly less, for evasion of guided munition attacks; Advanced processing algorithms for track fusion, and Space Time Adaptive Processing (derived from Nebo SVU design).

      I suggest RNLAF should buy new F-16s with the latest gear.

    13. Guest says:

      Sinking money into the F-35 is just dumb idea. Of course the threats are continuing to evolve. That’s just a fact, and if you have just F-35s that just aren’t capable of dealing with the high threat zones, it just doesn’t do you any good of going ahead and sink the money. Because most adversary nations will be acquiring the 55Zh6M Nebo M Mobile “Counter Stealth” Radar which will be proliferated to detect the F-35.

      The Nebo M is an advanced digital solid state 3D multiple band radar intended to detect and track stealth aircraft at all altitudes and long range; VHF-Band, L-Band and C-Band antenna elements with digital track fusion modelled on the US Navy CEC system and STAP modelled on E-2D Hawkeye; Nebo M components carried by high offroad mobility 8×8 BAZ-6909 vehicles; Stow and deploy times ~15 minutes, possibly less, for evasion of guided munition attacks; Advanced processing algorithms for track fusion, and Space Time Adaptive Processing (derived from Nebo SVU design).

      I suggest the RNLAF should buy new F-16s with the latest gear.

    14. Guest says:

      Sinking money into the F-35 is just dumb. Of course the threats are continuing to evolve. That’s just a fact, and if you have only just F-35s that just aren’t capable of dealing with the threat, it just doesn’t do you any good to buy them and maintain them at extreme high cost.

    15. I worked at Edwards AFB and spoke to some of the foreign pilots involved with the JSF project. It's main failure is that costs have more than doubled and small countries that had bought such 'affordable' fighters like the F-16 in the past can't commit the tax dollars. They would probably be better off buying a slightly less capable European for half the cost then getting a bunch of features on the JSF they don't really need anyway.

      • Guest says:

        James H Watschke

        The F-35 is extremely less capable aircraft that can't fulfill any air forces and navy's requirements, which is why the F-16, Typhoon, Rafale or Gripen should be considered for the Europeans as an alternative to the failed (F-35) lemon. In fact, the F-35 has been in development for well over a decade and its never affordable from the beginning, it is way too expensive which will be very hard to maintain to do the work that previous aircraft designs would do in lower to medium threat environments. Certainly the aircrews will not be able enough to train properly and it won't be affordable because of its complexity. The JSF is remaining with difficulties in performance, weight and cooling capacity etc, plus significant software and system integration problems and major cost overruns, it is getting out of hands too much. The JSF is 10 years behind schedule.

        Again its a fifth generation failure. When I hear the word "less capable" what that means the aircraft will absolutely perform terrible, useless to your needs that will be extremely expensive to operate and maintain. Who will I blame? the Pentagon, DoD bureaucrats, Congress and definately Lockheed Martin company.

    16. kikl says:

      Great News: "This week the Dutch parliament voted to scrap Dutch participation in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program"

      This is the smartest move the Dutch parliament could make. If you want a stealthy bomber that can carry two bombs internally, then the F-35 is a viable option. In any other role, the plane sucks. Getting new F-16 with the latest avionics and missiles would be the most cost effective option. If the Netherlands is ready to pay more for a better package then the Rafale and Typhoon are great options.

      And please don't buy into this 5th generation stealth bull. Check out this publication about "5th generation" fighters:
      http://www.eurofighter.com/fileadmin/web_data/dow

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.

    ×