F-35 on Dutch soil in 2016

Next year will see the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II on Dutch soil for the first time, Dutch defense minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert said on Monday 26 January. The test program in the US leaves enough time to send one of two F-35s currently owned by the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF), to the Netherlands in order to conduct tests and present it to taxpayers.

The aircraft will likely visit both Volkel and Leeuwarden airbase in June 2016, which could very well coincide with the regular air force open days. The main goal is perform noise tests around both airbases. Earlier tests in the US showed the F-35 is noisier than current Dutch F-16s.

The runways at Volkel and Leeuwarden will have to be prepared for the F-35’s arrival. Both Dutch F-35s were flown from Eglin Air Force Base in Florida to Edwards Air Force base in California earlier in January. Operational F-35 flying from Dutch soil will start no sooner than 2019.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image: The first Dutch F-35A seen over the US. (Image © Ministerie van Defensie)