Belgium has chosen Lockheed Martin’s F-35A Lightning II stealth fighter jets over the Eurofighter Typhoon to replace its aging fleet of F-16 Fighting Falcon jets in a $4.55 billion) deal.
The country will procure 34 F-35As, two flight simulators, support equipment, training, and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) systems. The first of the new fighter planes are expected to arrive in the country in 2023.
“We have landed! This government is investing heavily in defense. With the purchase of F-35A fighter planes … we ensure your safety and that of our military,” Belgian Defence Minister Steven Vandeput said on Twitter.
We zijn geland! Deze regering investeert fors in Defensie. Met de aankoop van F-35A gevechtsvliegtuigen, landvoertuigen en verkenningsdrones verzekeren we uw veiligheid én die van onze militairen @BelgiumDefence #veiligheid
— Steven Vandeput (@svandeput) October 25, 2018
With the selection of the F-35A, Belgium becomes the 13th nation to join the F-35 program of record. Belgium’s allies – the U.S., U.K., Netherlands, Denmark, Norway and Italy – are F-35 program participants.
The Belgian Air Force began flying the F-16 Fighting Falcon jets in the 1970s. Just like the F-16 has for more than four decades, the F-35 program is poised to generate high-quality, long-term jobs for Belgium long into the future.
Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is a family of American fifth-generation, single-seat, single-engined, all-weather stealth multirole fighters designed to perform ground-attack and air-superiority missions.
F-35 has three main models: the F-35A conventional takeoff 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.