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Contracts - Intent | Europe - Other | Fighters & Attack | Partnerships & Consortia | Testing & Evaluation | USA

Dutch Signing on to Multinational F-35 Testing?

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F-35A(click to view full) Back in 2006, when it was time for partner nations to sign on to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter’s production definition phase, the Dutch came aboard relatively early. That appears to be true again. A Dutch MvD leap year release indicates that they will participate in the multinational Initial Operational Test & Evaluation (IOT&E) Phase of the JSF program, rather than conducting this phase on their own. IOT&E will be used to validate the F-35A’s capabilities, while testing and refining both operational tactics & employment concepts, and ensuring smooth integration of the aircraft into the Dutch Air Force in time for the scheduled Initial Operational Capability (IOC) in 2016. The first test aircraft is scheduled for a decision before May 31/08, with down-payment of 10% of the aircraft’s costs for long-lead items. A Cabinet decision will follow in 2009 re: both test aircraft, with a second aircraft arriving that year if the decision is positive. Otherwise, the long-lead items et. al. will be sold to other operators. The decisions seem straightforward enough, but they have become very contentious. The multinational IOT&E phase will pool 24 aircraft in total (10 F-35A, 8 F-35B, 6 F-35C), and will […]

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