Italy has started assembling the first European-built F-35A Lightning II fighter jet that has been developed for the Royal Netherlands Air Force.
The aircraft is the first of 37 F-35s to be acquired by the Netherlands. It is expected to be delivered to the Dutch Ministry of Defence at the end of next year.
Construction work on the F-35A aircraft has commenced at the Italian F-35 manufacturing plant in Cameri.
Italy has been contracted to construct 29 aircraft for the Royal Netherlands Air Force, while the remaining eight jets are being built by Lockheed Martin at its production facility in Fort Worth, US.
Lockheed Martin has already delivered the first two F-35 Lightning II jets to the Netherlands.
The first fighter jets will be based at the Dutch Air Force’s Leeuwarden Air Base. The first fighter jet will be added to the Royal Netherlands Air Force’s Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS) network.
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The F-35A is the conventional take-off and landing variant of the F-35 Lightning II aircraft. It is equipped with an advanced sensor package to gather and distribute more information than other fighter jets.
Featuring enhanced processing power, open architecture, sophisticated sensors, information fusion, and flexible communication links, the aircraft can be effectively used to carry out future homeland defence, as well as joint and coalition irregular warfare and combat operations.