‘Aviation firms boycott deal on joint fighter’

At least five Dutch firms involved in the construction of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) jet are refusing to give part of their turnover to the Dutch state in line with an agreement made in 2002, reports Friday’s Volkskrant.

The Dutch aviation sector agreed that it would hand over around 3% of its turnover to the government in return for its help in securing the order for the US fighter jet.
However the paper names four firms that it says have confirmed that they are boycotting the agreement. Up to now these have won orders worth over $7m but expect to book a turnover of several million more in the production phase, the paper says. These companies claim they did not need the government’s help to get the orders.
The deal between the aviation industry and the government was made to guarantee that Dutch tax-payers did not pay extra for the development of the JSF, says the Volkskrant. The companies involved profited indirectly from the government’s €800m investment in the project, it says.
The economic affairs minister describes the firms that are refusing to give a percentage of their turnover to the government as ‘free riders’, reports the paper.
‘Dutch’ contract to go to Turkey
One of the first ‘Dutch’ JSF contracts with its major partner Lockheed Martin is to be signed by Stork Aerospace, says the Volkskrant. Economic affairs minister Maria van der Hoeven and executives from the two companies are due to hold a press conference this morning, the paper says.
Stork, which was taken over by a foreign company this year, is to produce cables for the JSF project in Turkey creating jobs for up to 500 people, reports the Volskkrant.
The paper points out that Wim Kok – who as prime minister sat the time stressed that that involvement with the JSF would be good for employment in the Netherlands – is now a member of Stork’s supervisory board.

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