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Two test F-35s for the Netherlands

March 2, 2008 (by Eric L. Palmer) - The Netherlands will take part in the Initial Operational Test and Evaluation phase (IOT & E) of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program.

The Netherlands plans to purchase two F-35s for joint program testing

Netherland's Defense states that participation in the joint testing of the F-35 Lightning II with other partners is necessary to verify whether the device meets the requirements and can achieve a smooth introduction into service.

There will be a 10% down-payment for two F-35 aircraft in 2008. A final purchase decision for the two aircraft will be made in 2009. The aircraft should be delivered in 2011 and 2012 and testing will run between 2011 and 2013.

Parliament has been told that the projected program cost is now almost €5.67 billion, up from €5.5 billion.

The Netherlands is looking at acquiring up to 85 F-35A aircraft to replace their F-16s.

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