Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II (F-008) or JSF (Joint Strike Fighter) from the Royal Netherlands Air Force
at the Royal Netherlands Air Force Open Days 2019, Volkel (the Netherlands)
The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is a family of single-seat, single-engine, all-weather stealth multirole fighters undergoing final development and testing by the United States. The fifth generation combat aircraft is designed to perform ground attack and air defense missions. The F-35 has three main models: the F-35A Conventional Take-Off and Landing (CTOL) variant, the F-35B Short Take-Off and Vertical-Landing (STOVL) variant,
and the F-35C carrier-based Catapult Assisted Take-Off But Arrested Recovery (CATOBAR) variant. On 31 July 2015, the first squadron was declared ready for deployment after intensive testing by the United States Marines. On 2 August 2016, the United States Air Force declared its first squadron of F-35As was combat-ready. The F-35 is descended from the X-35, which was the winning design of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program.
It is being designed and built by an aerospace industry team led by Lockheed Martin. Other major F-35 industry partners include Northrop Grumman, Pratt & Whitney and BAE Systems. The F-35 took its first flight on 15 December 2006. The United States plans to buy 2457 aircraft. The Netherlands have started using two F-35s as test aircraft. These aircraft (F-001 and F002) paid a brief visit to the Netherlands in May and June 2016.
The contract for 8 additional F-35s was signed at the beginning of 2015; these aircraft will be delivered from 2019 onwards.
The aim is for the Netherlands to purchase at least 37 new fighter aircraft.
Each year the Netherlands armed forces services organises open days on a rotational basis. Open days are intended to show how the Netherlands Defence organisation works for peace and security throughout the world. On these days everyone is welcome to have a look behind the scenes.
The 2019 Royal Netherlands Air Force Open Days took place at Volkel Air Base, home to 312 and 313 F-16 Fighting Falcon squadrons.