15:21 GMT, December 19, 2008 The F-35, better known as the Joint Strike Fighter, best meets the requirements drawn up by the Netherlands for the successor to the F16. This emerges from the findings of the candidate comparison that the State Secretary for Defence, Jack de Vries, today sent to the House of Representatives.“The F-35 is the best multi-role combat aircraft and by around 2015 will certainly be able to carry out all six main missions successfully.” The F-35 also has the greatest operational availability. In addition, the capital costs of the F-35 are the lowest and it is anticipated that the total life-cycle costs will also be the lowest.The completion of the candidate comparison marks the fulfillment of the commitment made to the House of Representatives to carry out such a comparison prior to the definitive acquisition of the two JSF test aircraft. This is planned to take place by the end of April 2009 at the latest.The candidate comparison follows on from the candidate evaluation of 2001, from which the Joint Strike Fighter also emerged as the best aircraft for the best price. In 2002 the Cabinet decided to participate in the development of this fighter aircraft. This decision was largely based on the wish to give the Dutch aviation industry an opportunity to win orders in this project.In the present government coalition agreement it is stated that in 2010 the cabinet will take a final decision regarding the replacement of the F-16 on the basis of a comparison of quality, price and delivery time. The Joint Strike Fighter scored the best for all three criteria.The comparative study, between the Advanced F-16, de F-35 and the Gripen Next Generation, was carried out in cooperation with TNO (Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research) and NLR (Netherlands Aerospace Laboratory) and was monitored by the audit services of the Defence organisation and the Ministry of Economic Affairs).At the request of the House of Representatives, the firm of RAND Europe also followed the course of the comparative study. In their reports, both the audit services and RAND consider that the candidate comparison was carried out transparently and objectively and that the reports contain an accurate account of the results of the comparison.On account of the lengthy period of thirty years over which the project will extend, the calculation of total life-cycle costs includes an allowance for uncertainties.
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