The Dutch Defence Minister's department is happy to paint an F-35 picture that isn't very accurate.
Yet a little credit should be given on improvement. Back in the days of a former Dutch Defence Minister Jack de Vries, he acted like he worked for Lockheed Martin.
This release states that costs have increased on the F-35 program "partly caused by a number of countries having moved their planned orders back to later years."
I wonder who told them that?
This is a common thread from LM briefers to customers. Blame governments first for not ordering hundreds of mistake-jets. Not mentioned in detail are a significant amount of engineering challenges which have made this 2003 plan a laughing stock.
Problems that are mentioned are minimized with a can-do, fix-it attitude.
The release talks about the cost problems with sustaining old F-16s however if one has problems like that, then they probably are not a valid F-35 customer. Unlike a legacy F-18, refurbing an F-16 is easier. If one poor-mouths F-16 operating costs when wanting something new, they are more likely better suited for something more practical and affordable.
The F-35 is at the polar-opposite of the affordability (and capability...as in flying question-mark) spectrum.
The department goes on to say that it should be no surprise that problems are discovered in testing. Congratulations. The release starts out like this,"Not all problems have been resolved yet but the programme is back on the right track."
I wonder who briefed them on that? Which track? Certainly not the one from 2007,2008,2009,2010,2011? Certainly not because those timelines have vanished.
Another interesting comment from the DM release states,"Furthermore, the programme management has tightened the reins."
Well, the program does have a strong resemblance to acts of sadomasochism. I'm not sure about what the term "tightened reins" means to the striking workers outside the Fort Worth plant.
Then there are some other nagging issues.
Panetta has been mentioned in passing but his credibility with the F-35 program is lacking.
The release mentions Belgium and Denmark are following developments with "keen inteest" but so is everyone else. Norway is mentioned. What is not mentioned is like the Dutch, military spending is assuring a hollow-force that won't be able to do much.
The Dutch election is coming up in September. I wonder how the closing of an airbase/42 jet plan will go?