The Lockheed Martin F-35 is developed for the Joint Strike Fighter program. The Joint Strike Fighter Program started in the early nineties to replace various aircraft. The competetors in the program were the Boeing X-32 and the Lockheed Martin X-35, of which the X-35 was chosen.
The Dutch gouvernment was also looking for a replacement for the F-16 fighter of the Dutch airforce. After considering various aircraft, in 2001 the F-35 was chosen. This choice led to much debate. Since taking part of the program would be cheaper then buying the aircraft off the shelf, the Netherlands decided to become a Level 2 partner in the program. In 2008 two aircraft were bought for testing purposes. The Netherlands will buy 37 JSF aircraft in total.
So far, the two Dutch F-35’s have only flown in the USA. But because this aircraft is assumed to make more noise then the F-16, people living near airbases are worried about the noise when it will be in use. So, the two F-35’s are temporarily transferred to Leeuwarden AFB and Volkel AFB to do several test flights in may and June 2016. The purpose of these flights, is to let the people experience what the F-35 really sounds like. It will also be at display at the Luchtmachtdagen 2016.
May 23. 2016 both F-35’s were flown to the Netherlands and became the first F-35’s to see in Europe. They were greeted by two F-16B’s and the Gulfstream IV of the Royal Netherlands Airforce. At the spotters location around a Thousand people were waiting for the arrival as well. Due to the late time of their arrival (after 21:00) and the dark clouds, the situation was not ideal for taking photographs. Still we didn’t want to miss the unique moment and below is a selection of my photo’s of the evening.Some days later I was able to take some more photo’s. These you can see below In my post about the Luchtmachtdagen you can find some more spectacular photo’s of the F-35. Among them a few with a nice Vortex effect.
In my webshop you can buy photo’s of the F-35 and other aircraft. Note that the price depends on the chosen material and size.