The Dutch aerospace industry is calling for its contract with the government on the development of the Joint Strike Fighter to be reopened, the NRC Handelsblad reports on Friday.
Some 80 Dutch firms are involved in the US-led project to develop a successor to the F16 fighter jet.
The NRC quotes the industry as saying it is not logical that it should have to contribute hundreds of millions of euros to the project, as agreed in 2002.
In that deal, the cabinet agreed to invest €858m in the JSF development on condition that it would not cost more than buying an aircraft off the shelf. The Dutch aerospace industry, which hoped to win massive orders through the project, agreed to guarantee any shortfall.
In 2002 that shortfall was estimated to be €191m, but finance and economic affairs ministry sources told the NRC that had increased sharply since then.
But the aerospace industry says the financial benefits of the project are now far greater than originally thought and that the deal will benefit the taxpayer at the industry’s expense. ‘We want to sit down with ministers as soon as possible,’ industry spokesman Arie Kraaijeveld told the paper.
In April, the Volkskrant reported that at least four aerospace firms were boycotting the investment deal, saying they did not need government help to win orders.
MPs are due to debate taking part in the test phase of the JSF next week.
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