JSF costs not transparent: audit office

Parliament is not being properly informed about the cost of the new JSF fighter jet, the national audit office said on Wednesday.

The defence ministry is presenting a one-sided picture of the benefits of the JSF, major risks are being ignored and the budget has not been updated to current prices, the audit office report says.
For example, if other countries decide not to buy the new jet fighter, the price per aircraft will increase. The Netherlands has tentative orders for 85 aircraft, but the bill could be €360m higher than the orginal budget, the audit office said.
The economic affairs ministry and aerospace industry are currently embroiled in a row about dividing up the proceeds from contracts won by Dutch companies involved in developing the JSF.
Some 80 Dutch firms are involved in the US-led project to develop a successor to the F16 fighter jet.
But the industry says the government wants too big a percentage of its JSF-related turnover. A decision on solving that dispute is due in May, the Volkskrant says.
The cabinet and parliament must still give formal approval to plans to buy the JSF as a successor to the F-16 fighters. That decision is due to be taken in 2010.

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