Audit office calls for clarity on plans to buy new JSF fighters

The national audit office warned on Thursday that the Netherlands’ involvement in the JSF jet fighter will increase in 2011 while there is still no clarity on the cost implications or the number of aircraft needed to fulfil the ambitions of the ministry of defence.

The JSF is expected to replace the aging fleet of F-16s, and one test plane was ordered in 2008 at a cost of €113.2m. In February 2011, a decision was made to order a second test plane for €99.2m, although the order has not yet been placed.
A final decision on whether or not to replace the F-16s with JSFs will be taken by the next government.
Defence minister Hans Hillen is due to inform parliament about the savings he is required to make under government cuts and the ambitions for the future.
The national audit office says the cabinet and parliament would do well to find some clarity before taking any more steps to replace the F-16s.
It does, however, point out that there are also costs involved in keeping the F-16s in service.

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