Netherlands wants JSF test phase role

The Netherlands wants to be considered an equal partner in the testing phase of the Joint Strike Fighter jet with insight into all the relevant information, junior defence minister Cees van der Knaap, told his US counterpart during a visit to the Pentagon on Tuesday.

The cabinet has not yet decided whether to buy the jets, but agreed in February to take part in the test phase. MPs are expected to vote on the issue in November.
Van der Knapp said he has also spoken to US junior defence minister Gordon England about the Dutch role in Afghanistan. Ministers will decide this summer whether to extend the Dutch mission past August 2008. Yesterday eight soldiers were wounded during a suicide bomb in the southern Afghan province of Uruzgan.

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