Demand US Authorities Investigate Delays, Rising Costs
Watching the cost of an F-35 continue to climb, wondering when
the Joint Strike Fighter will be delivered, the Dutch Labor Party
now wants the American government to investigate why the
Netherlands will have to wait so long and get fewer aircraft for
The Netherlands signed on for the JSF more than two years ago,
pledging $800 million. In return, according to Radio Netherlands,
the Dutch government expected to sign plenty of lucrative contracts
to produce F-35 components.
So far, the price for each JSF has risen by almost a third, from
$40.1 million to $58.3 million. The prototype is behind scheduled
and those money-laden contracts Dutch manufacturers had been hoping
for have so far failed to materialize.
"I guess the good news is there are developments," said the
University of Amsterdam's Rudolph Janssens, in an interview with
Radio Netherlands. "They've decided that the prototype plane will
be finished in August 2006. That's the positive news. The bad news
is that it's going to cost more, and there are still all kinds of
unclear issues about it, in the sense that the American Department
of Defense decided to buy fewer planes, and they are wondering
-– especially the air force -– how many they can
Will the Hague pull out of the JSF deal? No, said Janssens -- at
least, not yet. "They pledged $800 million, yet it seems seem like
they’re not willing to pull back, either. It’s not easy
to pull back, in any case."
But he pointed out a wave of dissatisfaction sweeping Dutch
industry. In the Netherlands, he said, there's a groundswell of
opinion that the US has reneged on a deal. "The problem there is
especially that there was a promise on the American side that if
the Dutch bought these Joint Strike Fighters, then Dutch industry
would get what’s called 'recompensation orders.' So, the
Americans would actually place orders for parts of the fighter
plane with Dutch industries. But there are lots of complaints from
Dutch industry that this is not happening."
Janssens told RN there's also the issue of transferring
technology from the US to Europe. "[T]hat's distrust on the
American side. They're not too keen on having technology being
built in another country for their own fighter planes....
It’s all about jobs, too, and about the economy."
Ultimately, Janssens said the JSF will probably be built and the
Dutch will probably go ahead with their purchase. "But I think a
lot of people will be disappointed too. What I mean is that there
will be fewer fighter planes being bought, and it will be at a
higher cost than everybody expected."