The defense has paid 500,000 euros for the festive reception of the first F-35 in the Netherlands. At the end of October, the brand new fighter plane, also known as the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), landed at Leeuwarden Air Base.
That party did not go entirely according to plan . The F-35 landed later than planned. After landing, the device was welcomed by the fire brigade with fire-fighting foam instead of water: a fireman accidentally pressed the wrong button. The Ministry of Defense feared that the engines had been damaged by the extinguishing foam, but that was not the case after an investigation.
State Secretary for Defense Visser has now announced that the festive reception has cost around half a million euros. This also includes the costs of so-called ‘roll-out ceremonies’ at aircraft manufacturer Lockheed Martin in the United States and aircraft manufacturer Leonardo in Italy. “Certain activities in the United States and Italy were partly paid for by the host himself,” Visser told the House of Representatives.
More than two thousand guests were invited to the reception in Leeuwarden. The entire top of Defense was present.
The controversial purchase of the F-35 – worth more than 6 billion euros – did not go without a hitch. Political parties couldn’t stop talking about it before the air force was able to place an order for 37 aircraft in 2013. 9 devices have recently been added.
The reputation of what was known as the Joint Strike Fighter for many years, was furthermore sustained by a continuing stream of ominous reports about technical shortcomings and defects that needed to be resolved.