Royal Netherlands Air Force’s First F-35 Arrives in Leeuwarden Air Base

The first operational Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter aircraft landed at Leeuwarden Air Base at around 3:30 PM local time on Oct. 31.

The aircraft came from the F-35 Final Assembly and Check-Out (FACO) line in Cameri, Italy where it was assembled. On arrival, the F-35 carried a flypast with its predecessors in RNLAF service: an F-16, a Hawker Hunter and a Spitfire.

The first two Dutch F-35s were delivered in 2013. The RNLAF already took delivery of 8 F-35s, but they are in the United States and are used to train pilots.

In total, the Netherlands has ordered 46 F-35s which are to be are stationed at the Leeuwarden and Volkel airbases. At around € 5 billion, it is the largest weapon purchase in Dutch history.

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