Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England and the Netherlands Deputy Secretary for Defence Cees van der Knaap signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) today to begin future cooperation in the production, sustainment, and follow-on development (PSFD) phase of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Program. The Dutch, who are already contributing $800 million to the JSF Program’s development phase, plan to buy 85 conventional take-off and landing variants of the Joint Strike Fighter during the production phase.
“This is a major milestone in the long-standing friendship and partnership between the Netherlands and the United States, and I thank the Dutch military and government for the strong leadership and close friendship,” said Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England. “Our shared investment in the Joint Strike Fighter will pay important dividends for the security and freedom of both our Nations for many years in the future.”
The PSFD MOU provides a framework for future JSF Program efforts in production and beyond, and will extend cooperation beyond the current JSF System Development and Demonstration MOU among the United States and the other eight JSF partner nations, the United Kingdom, Italy, The Netherlands, Turkey, Canada, Denmark, Norway, and Australia. The Netherlands joined the SDD MOU in June 2002, and has been part of the JSF program since 1997.
This agreement further strengthens the commitment between the United States and The Netherlands as the JSF program moves forward into the production and support phase. It will also impact across the entire spectrum of the US-Dutch defense relationship in terms of air dominance, interoperability, defense transformation, modernization, cost reduction, acquisition excellence, and the health of U.S and Dutch industrial bases.
Other JSF partner nations are anticipated to sign the PSFD MOU between now and the end of December 2006. This will support commencement of cooperative production, sustainment, and follow-on development efforts by all nine partner nations in January 2007.
The Joint Strike Fighter, the largest ever US DoD acquisition program, continues to set new standards in development of manufacturing technologies, acquisition and business practices, technology transfer, and export licensing. The first flight test is expected for December 2006.
Once the PSFD MOU signing process is completed, the partners will cooperatively develop, produce, test, train and operate a Lightning II JSF Air System that will enhance the interoperability, survivability, and affordability of allied future forces.