JSF fighter jet order now unlikely

VVD leader and likely new prime minister Mark Rutte is opposed to the purchase of a number of JSF fighter jets in the next cabinet period, the Volkskrant reports on Friday, quoting sources in The Hague.

The sources say Rutte is in favour of buying a second test aircraft in order to guarantee the participation of Dutch firms in the development and production process. Rutte made the comments during talks on forming a coalition with the Labour party, which failed last month, the paper says.
The current caretaker government delayed taking a decision on the purchase of dozens of JSF aircraft until 2012 because of opposition from Labour, which was part of the coalition.
The paper says Rutte is well aware that ordering JSF aircraft at a cost of €6bn would be very sensitive at a time of cuts in education, healthcare and social security spending. He is committed to finding austerity measures to generate €18bn in savings between now and 2015.
The PVV is also opposed to spending money on the JSF and the CDA is only committed to buying a second test aircraft. The VVD hopes to form a new government with the CDA and PVV.