In a Dec. 2 statement, the Dutch ministry issued a rare non-U.S.
estimate of the aircraft's rising costs. JSF prime contractor Lockheed
Martin has insisted that the F-35 would not cost more than $100 million.
In September 2010, Israel became the first foreign country to formally
order JSF. Israel signed an agreement for 20 F-35s for what an estimated
JSF partners such as Britain and the Netherlands have refused to sign
orders for the aircraft. The Dutch parliament has expressed shock at the
increase of the cost of the F-35, meant to replace the country's F-16
multi-role fighter fleet.
On Dec. 2, Dutch Defense Minister Hans Hillen told parliament that the
sharp rise in JSF costs reflected development and production delays. Hillen
also cited the rise in costs of raw material, equipment and salaries, which
were expected to further increase.
Several parliamentary factions have demanded that the Netherlands, which
plans to procure 85 aircraft, withdraw from JSF. The Labor Party urged the
government to purchase an existing aircraft to help control procurement
"As assumed last September, the adjusted estimate of the investment for
the F-16 replacement project is significantly higher than the current
project budget," Hillen said.