• Belgium buys the F-35

    From Aviation HQ@2:292/854 to All on Fri Oct 26 08:49:11 2018
    Belgium opts to replace its outdated F-16s with the American F-35, also known as the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF). The government has decided on Thursday against severe opposition.

    Belgium buys 34 fighter planes for around 3.4 billion Euro. The first aircraft are expected from 2023 onwards.

    The F-35 from manufacturer Lockheed Martin beats the Eurofighter Typhoon from a British-German-Spanish-Italian consortium. The French Rafale also was in the running.

    Countries such as the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Italy, Norway and Denmark have also ordered F-35s. Earlier this month, a JSF crashed in the US and the whole US fleet was grounded, it cast a shadow over the quality of the aircraft. In the meantine it is certain that there's more to the deal than just defense considerations.

    Belgium remembers the F16-deal where General Dynamics delivered a watered down version which in combat against USAF F16s would stand no chance. In the end French subcontractors needed to modify the Belgian F16s for example to upgrade them with ECM (electroning counter measures).

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    * Origin: AVIATION ECHO HQ (2:292/854)