Belgium has officially chosen the F-35 over Typhoon to replace its F-16 jet, confirming earlier speculation.
This news makes Belgium the 12th country to buy the jet.
Earlier in the year, the UK submitted its final Typhoon offer to Belgium on behalf of itself and partner companies. The proposal included 34 Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft, underpinned by the offer of a “deep strategic, defence and industrial partnership” between the Governments of Belgium and the UK.
Previously, Sweden announced it would not be entering Saab’s Gripen E for Belgium’s fighter contest, the country’s defence ministry announced in July last year. Boeing also withdrew its Super Hornet deal.
Lockheed Martin said in a statement:
“Lockheed Martin is honored by the Belgian government’s selection of the F-35A Lightning II for their future national security needs. We look forward to supporting the U.S. government in delivering the F-35 program to meet the requirements of the Belgian government.
With its selection, Belgium becomes the 13th nation to join the F-35 program of record, a testament to the government’s confidence in the program and its industrial benefits. Lockheed Martin looks forward to extending the relationship with the Belgian government and industry participants for decades to come.
The 5th generation F-35 delivers unmatched value as the most capable, lowest life-cycle cost aircraft with the strongest industrial participation opportunity. With each new customer, the F-35 continues to enhance global security, strengthen critical alliances and drive economic growth.”
In January this year the US preemptively approved a sale of 34 F-35 jets to Belgium. The deal is worth $6.53 billion and is also expected include electronic warfare system and the Autonomic Logistics Information System.