F-35 Test Aircraft Transferred to the Netherlands
On July 25, 2013, the first of two Dutch F-35 test aircraft was transferred by the U.S. government to the Dutch Ministry of Defense. It is also the first F-35A conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) delivered to an international partner in the F35 program.
This is the English translation of the Dutch Ministry of Defense press release issued earlier today.
The Netherlands ordered this aircraft in 2009 for participation in the operational test phase of the F-35 program. After the aircraft had been fully checked, it was officially transferred to the Dutch Ministry of Defense. This took place at the flight-line of Ft. Worth, in the United States.
At that, the Netherlands took possession of the aircraft and will now be responsible for maintenance and safety. Therefore, some Dutch defense employees will follow a technical training, after which they will supervise maintenance works by the Americans and the respective accounts. By now, the production of the second test aircraft ordered in 2011 is finalized, and that aircraft is still going through some test and acceptance flights. Expectations are that the first test aircraft will be flown within some days by an American pilot to the U.S. air force base in Florida where the aircraft remains stored until a decision has been taken on the replacement of the F-16 in connection with the memorandum on the future of the Netherlands Armed Forces. During that period of storage, the aircraft will be used for technical ground tests.Read the original press release here