The Netherlands as a purchaser of the JSF
The Netherlands is not only a partner in the JSF programme, it is also one of the purchasers of the JSF. In 2013, the Dutch government decided to buy 37 JSFs to replace its fleet of F-16s. The government formulated a set of strict financial criteria for the acquisition of the JSF. The Minister of Defence guaranteed that a fleet of 37 JSF aircraft was sufficient to carry out all the operational tasks required of them.
The Dutch government decided in 2013 to buy 37 JSFs. The decision-making process for this deal first began in 1996. It is a complicated process in which the Dutch parliament has an important role to play.
As a purchaser of the JSF, the Netherlands pays the purchase price of the aircraft, together with the cost of all the various related equipment and materials. Operating the aircraft is also something that costs money. The Ministry of Defence has produced estimates of all the various costs involved. This is important, as the government has placed limits on spending on the JSF.
Because the Netherlands has a dual role as both a partner in the programme and a purchaser of the aircraft, it receives certain financial benefits in buying the aircraft.
The first JSFs are due to be delivered to the Netherlands in 2019. This section explains the operational aspects. The armed forces need the aircraft in order to discharge the tasks assigned to them by the Minister of Defence. At present – and to a certain extent also in the years after 2019 – these tasks are performed by the F-16s, as they will continue to do so until the entire JSF fleet is operational. Once this is the case, the JSFs will then perform all the tasks. The Minister of Defence has said that a fleet of 37 JSFs is sufficient for this purpose; this is a claim that we have examined.
Once the JSFs are fully operational, the F-16s will be phased out. We have investigated what exactly has been done to date with the F-16s that have been decommissioned.