Netherlands stepping up F-35 purchase after Turkey’s ejection from programme – Kokpit

The Netherlands is stepping up its purchase of the F-35 fighter jets by adding another eight or nine jets to its order for 37 aircraft, following the U.S.’ ejection of Turkey from the F-35 programme, Turkish aviation site Kokpit reported on Saturday.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte earlier this week said his country was willing to step up and help fill gaps in the F-35 supply chain if the U.S. ejects Turkey from the programme. 

Washington on Wednesday removed Turkey from the F-35 joint strike fighter programme, following its procurement of the S-400 Russian-made air defence system, which according to the United States could collect data on NATO military operations and undermine their defences.

Ankara had signed up for buying 100 F-35s, the U.S.’ most sophisticated warplanes, and had invested  $1.4 billion in the programme. Turkish companies produce 937 of the plane's parts.

“The Netherlands is absolutely willing, of course, wherever we can, to help if there would be a gap in the program itself,” Rutte said on July 18 at the Atlantic Council in Washington. 

There is a scramble by numerous countries to fill the void created by Turkey's absence in the F-35 fighter jet programme, according to Metin Gürcan, a former Turkish military adviser and analyst, who said countries are lining up for the first batch of 30 fighter jets originally allotted for Turkey.

“Actually, Israel is very active in this matter, they have already requested from the United States the two aircraft delivered to us,’’ Gürcan said on Twitter.