Calling the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program a "very striking example of a private and public partnership in the Netherlands" and "a model for the future," Netherlands Deputy Minister of Defense Henk van Hoof today joined a group of 21 Dutch government and industry leaders on a tour of the facility where the F-35 will be assembled.
The officials held discussions with U.S. members of the F-35 JSF team at the Fort Worth headquarters of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., a business area of Lockheed Martin Corp.
Deputy Minister van Hoof noted that Dutch industry's financial contribution to the $800 million price tag for Dutch involvement in the F-35's System Development and Demonstration (SDD) phase is unprecedented, and establishes a new method of cooperation between business and government. "This is an enormous amount for the Dutch," said van Hoof, "but we attach great importance to the participation opportunities."
"Dutch industry is ready to come aboard, ready to start. We're here today to make it work," van Hoof added, noting that the F-35 stands to benefit from Dutch technology as much as the Netherlands will profit from participation in the program.
Stork Chief Executive Officer Aad Veenman said Dutch industries are prepared to make a major investment in JSF because they believe in the program, its innovative character, the spin-off potentials, its long duration, and the solid foundation provided by many successful years of experience and cooperation in the Lockheed Martin F-16 program.
Several Dutch companies already are under contract to produce JSF subsystems, and the role of Netherlands industry is expected to grow significantly as a result of the Dutch decision to join SDD. Other nations making plans to participate in the F-35 JSF program include Italy, Norway, and Turkey.
Tom Burbage, executive vice president and general manager of the F-35 JSF program, told members of the Dutch delegation that their visit provided an opportunity to "give you a good look at what's almost magical about this airplane." He cited the program's commitment to reach across international borders to ensure that the aircraft is equipped with the most effective systems, and he explained how the F-35's combination of next-generation technologies will provide capabilities far superior to those of current- generation multirole fighters.
Noting that the Netherlands is the first Level 2 partner and currently the second-largest partner on the program after the United Kingdom, Burbage said, "We're very happy to have the Dutch on board with us."
In addition to van Hoof, the Netherlands delegation included Royal Netherlands Air Force Commander in Chief Lt. Gen. Dick Berlijn, RNLAF Director of Materiel Maj. Gen. Peter Vorderman and National Armaments Director Dr. Jan Fledderus. Also attending were top-level executives from Dutch industry, including Stork, Sun Electric Systems, Sulzer, Philips, Urenco, Thales NL, Dutch Space, Netherlands Defense Manufacturing Association (NIID), Netherlands Center of Laser Research (NCLR), and Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research (TNO).
The F-35 JSF is a stealthy, supersonic multirole fighter designed to replace a wide range of aging fighter and strike aircraft. Three variants derived from a common design will ensure JSF meets the security needs of each country while staying within strict affordability targets.
Lockheed Martin is developing the JSF in conjunction with its principal partners, Northrop Grumman and BAE SYSTEMS. Two separate but interchangeable propulsion systems are under development by Pratt & Whitney and General Electric. Among the aircraft JSF will replace are the A-10, AV-8B Harrier, F-16, F/A-18, and United Kingdom Harrier GR.7 and Sea Harrier.
Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, is a leader in the design, development, systems integration, production, and support of advanced military aircraft and related technologies. Its customers include the military services of the United States and allied countries throughout the world. Products include the F-16, F-22, JSF, F-117, C-5, C-27J, C-130, C-130J, P-3, S-3, and U-2.
Lockheed Martin Corp., headquartered in Bethesda, Md., is a global enterprise principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, and integration of advanced technology systems, products, and services. Employing about 125,000 people worldwide, Lockheed Martin had 2001 sales of $24 billion.
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