The cost of using the JSF fighter jet in the long term is a ‘major concern’ and will be ‘unaffordable’ for the US military, defence minister Jeanine Hennis quotes a US audit office and Pentagon report as saying.
‘The current figures show the annual cost of running the JSF will be 60% higher than current US fighter jets,’ Hennis said in a briefing to parliament.
The Netherlands has committed to buying two test planes and Hennis will take a final decision on replacing the Dutch armed forces’ F-16s with the JSF at the end of this year.
The US authorities are looking into how to lower the cost, the minister said.
A report by the Clingendael foreign policy institute earlier this year said an armed forces which includes the controversial JSF jet fighter is the least attractive scenario for the future of the Dutch military.
Clingendael says the JSF will only be needed if the Netherlands wants to take part in the opening phase of military interventions. But the high cost of the JSF will lead to ‘serious limitations’ to the country’s maritime operations – such as the role the Netherlands currently plays in protecting commercial shipping against pirates.
The Netherlands would also have less capacity to take part in human rights and humanitarian missions, the institute says.