Monday, April 16, 2012

The Dutch F-16 replacement delusion

The Dutch will not order 85 F-35s. One should see this as no surprise. The whole idea of buying the F-35 to replace the F-16 is a new kind of fokker scourge that will never see operational service.

For the past few years, the F-35 has been a political problem for the Dutch. One of their past defence ministers Jack de Vries had the behaviour of a sales agent for Lockheed Martin even using their briefing slides. Gone native he did.

The F-35 even contributed to bringing down the government.

Another reason one should not be surprised by F-35 delay in the program is that the Dutch have been engaged in selling off F-16s for lack of interest of running an air force.

The Dutch will now wait until 2015 on the F-35 decision because no-one in politics is brave enough to back the idea of a fantasy combat aircraft which is marketed like a Ponzi Scheme. The defective jet has proven to be toxic for political careers.

Again, consult Thana Marketing.

The Dutch now have 68 F-16s. How many will they have by 2015?

The Dutch Defence Ministry sent a letter to Parliament in 2011 which informed them that the new hope (I won't use the word "plan" given the pedigree of the decision makers), is to procure F-35s between 2019-2027. This doesn't included the 2 mistake-jets being ordered for test. Or is it training? I forget the latest excuse for this part of the fraud.

In 2010, the same people signed off on this F-35 buy schedule;

Source: JSF Memorandum of Agreement (PDF) (click on image to make larger)

Well, that folks is a big difference. In one year they signed off on a letter with the U.S. Department of Defense stating Dutch F-35 procurment would be complete in 2021. Then the next year pushed it 6 years.

What will the ever troubled F-35 program look like for the Dutch in 2015?


Distiller said...

The manned tactical fastmovers that Europe needs can be counted on two hands (or just make that the Rafales on the French carrier). The rest is just for keeping the industry alive and ticking. Which is not a wrong goal I say. But together with the European "pooling & sharing" schemes it means that any major acquisition will first and foremost be driven by industrial deliberations. And what does the F-35 bring to European industry? Nothing. Breadcrumbs. Aside from the Norwegians - who are secretly driven by dreams of war against Russia - the European F-35 market chances are shrinking by the day. Which of course does not really answer the F-16 replacement question. But neither does the F-35 answer that question - what exactly would the Dutch need a land-based LO deep striker for? I don't know if Rafale or EF2k would be more suitable, both will require to stay current which is a financial question. Gut feeling is till 2015+ there will be much more sharing & pooling; the Benelux already de-facto s&p their Navy, the core Europeans s&p their air transport. The Baltics and on the Balkan the air policing duties rotate. FRONTEX will have operational units soon-ish. Budget drives that, not love. With at least 200 EF2k too many in Europe I wouldn't be terribly surprised to see a p&s arrangement in the fastmover area too.

Locum said...

When the Dutch joined the SDD fase. the RNLAF planned internally to buy between 52 - 66 F-35A's. The politicians and industry kept talking about a purchase of 85 F-35A's.
Now, the planned RNLAF F-35A fleet stands at 36 - 57 copies, but they keep these numbers internally.
In 2015, the RNLAF has EUR 154 million available for the exploitation of 68 F-16A/BM's for 12 months.
Of which are 24 - 25 currently operational! If we use the latest F-35 exploitation figures from the US and Canada, then the RNLAF can only exploit a fleet of 25 - 35 F-35's. Untill last year, the Dutch DoD had a F-16 replacement budget of EUR 6,22 billion, this budget was annually indexed for inflation.
Now, this budget is EUR 0,00. And is replaced by a procurement reservation of just EUR 4.5 billion. I think that the delays will end up in no F-35A sales to the RNLAF.

Vince said...

Only offer that fits the Dutch budget is the Gripen NG. Saabs prospect of selling Gripen NG to Switzerland is a major breakthrew in my opinion. There hasnt been a majority in Dutch parlement for years for the F-35. And there never will be. Start replacing the F-16 in 2015/16 wiht Gripen NG is the path to go. That is the alternative if Holland wants to have an airforce left. Sooner or later the Dutch defense establishment will have to abandon its position of sticking wiht the F-35 project. Its a dead horse.

Distiller said...

For air policing the F-16 will do for another 50 years. If any borderline have-not (which is not really the case with the Dutch, it's more the unanswered question of return on investment of warfighting, national interests, and general geostrategic interests) seriously considers expeditionary operations or deep strike they should buy a share in the British Skynet and fly UAV.

Anonymous said...

nice opinion.. thanks for sharing..