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The Netherlands Ministry of Defence has declared initial operational capability (IOC) for the Royal Netherlands Air Force’s (RNLAF) F-35A fleet.

The latest announcement makes the Netherlands the eighth nation and RNLAF the 12th  military service to acheive IOC for their F-35 fleet of aircraft.

Lockheed Martin F-35 Program vice-president and general manager Bridget Lauderdale said: “The declaration of IOC ushers in a new era of air power that gives the RNLAF transformational capabilities.

“I am proud of the Lockheed Martin team’s commitment to delivering the most effective, survivable and connected fighter to our partners in the Netherlands.”

The F-35s can operate with ‘impunity’ in harsh airspace using sensors and low observable technology, providing the RNLAF with air superiority and high combat capabilities.

Each F-35 contains parts manufactured by Dutch firms, with over 25 suppliers throughout the Dutch industry contributing to the F-35 programme.

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So far, 24 F-35As have been delivered to the RNLAF, while the air force crews have achieved over 9,085 flight hours.

A total of 55 pilots and 262 maintainers are supporting the F-35A fleet in the Netherlands.

Until now,  F-35 has been operating from 29 bases across the world. A total of nine nations are operating F-35s worldwide.

Currently, over 730 F-35s are operational worldwide.

The F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter (JSF) is a stealthy, supersonic multirole fighter aircraft developed by Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company.

It is developed for the US Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps, as well as programme partners from Nato and US allies.