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RNLAF commander pushes for F-35-based Joint air force with Belgium.

| 2016
World Defense & Security News - Belgium
RNLAF commander pushes for F-35-based Joint air force with Belgium
By Nathan Gain
The Dutch air force commander invited himself in the debate on the successor of Belgian Air Force’s F-16 fleet. General Alexander Schnitger suggested on Flemish TV channel VRT that Belgium purchase the same type of aircraft selected by the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) – the F-35 Lightning II – to create a joint Dutch-Belgian air force.
RNLAF pushes for F 35 in Belgium 640 001RNLAF top commander expects Belgium will form a F-35-based joint air force
(Credit: Royal Netherlands Air Force)
I see significant benefits in building (military) cooperation between our two countries,” he said on the Flemish public channel, referring to the joint missions the two air forces would conduct.

Why not building a strong sole air force from two small ones,” added Schnitger.

From my perspective this would naturally help a lot if we finally choose the same type of fighter as this would facilitate integration,” he said.

The Netherlands has opted for Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Lightning II to replace their F-16 fighter jets from 2019, a purchase estimated to nearly 5 billion euros (US$5.55 bn) for an initial order for 37 aircraft.

Belgium approved in last December the purchase of 34 new fighter aircraft to be acquired from Spring 2018 for an amount of 3,573 billion euros.

Five platforms are competing: the F-35 stealth fighter, the F/A-18 from Boeing, the Rafale from Dassault Aviation, the Eurofighter proposed by the eponym European consortium, and the JAS 39 Gripen manufactured by the Swedish company Saab.


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