Dutch Approve Buy of Eight More F-35As

The Dutch parliament approved the acquisition of eight F-35A strike fighters, the Netherlands’ first batch of F-35A production jets, to begin recapitalizing the country’s F-16 fleet starting in 2019, reports Flightglobal. The first two Dutch F-35s transferred from Eglin AFB, Fla., to Edwards AFB, Calif., in mid-January to begin the Dutch test and evaluation work, according to the Dutch defense ministry. The Netherlands plans to purchase a total of 37 F-35As, split between two squadrons at Leeuwarden Air Base and Volkel Air Base, and a five-strong training unit at Luke AFB, Ariz., stated defense ministry officials. The Dutch initially planned to purchase up to 85 F-35As, a number that was whittled down to the current plan in protracted debate in parliament. The first Dutch F-35 was delivered in 2012. The Dutch air force inaugurated its first F-35A unit, 323 Squadron, now at Edwards, last year.