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.


  1. It’s fast becoming a massive success the F35 after all the troll rubbish on this site and others .Plenty of world class aviation experts on UK DJ .

    • PT wrote:
      “It’s fast becoming a massive success the F35 after all the troll rubbish on this site and others .Plenty of world class aviation experts on UK DJ .”

      Bit harsh, from what I can see, the vast majority of posters on here have championed the F35, with a point of view that we should purchase more. I have to admit, I’m not all in favour and feel that the British Government should purchase the organic Gloster Gladiator, which not only be 100% made in the Uk, but due to it being made out of wood and canvas, will be better for the environment.

  2. What does everyone reckon regarding the budget then? 1 billion extra for cyber and asw. It would think we might get an extra few p8 airframes then?

        • (Chris H) – The £1 Bn is for the 17 months to the end of the 2019 / 20 Financial year and the £800 Bn for Dreadnought is a separate drawdown for long lead items from a £10 Bn Treasury contingency fund

    • Pretty good budget overall, good news about personal allowance and good news about the national minimum living wage increase although it should be increased further still. Good news too about the fuel duty freeze, the price of fuel these days stops some people from making journeys they otherwise would have. I was glad to see some investment for motorways too, a good motorway network is a foundation of a nation’s economy and we have really fallen behind other comparable European countries in this area. The A1 between Newcastle and Edinburgh should be made a motorway, it is disgraceful that it is only a single carriageway in 2018. The A1 between Stevenage and Doncaster should also be a 3 lane motorway.

      And of course defence, I was glad too see the extra money, but it’s nowhere near enough in the grand scheme of things. We need more submarines, we lack numbers in this most important of areas, we should build say 5 diesel electric subs like Wyvern inexpensively. Them being seen to be good enough for the Royal Navy would only increase their desirability amongst smaller nations and I believe Britain would have great export success in this area. Or even another Astute or 2. We should also increase the surface fleet inexpensively with more Type 31s, at least 8 of them, and more River class, we don’t have enough O.P.V.s for a country with our coastline length, especially when you consider some will be based far off (e.g. Falklands), some will be in repair/refit, etc., other European countries like France, Italy, Spain, have more O.P.V.s than us. We should keep the batch 1s permanently and build 2 more for a total of 10 to protect our E.E.Z. post Brexit.

      The R.A.F. should come second for investment, and then the Army. I don’t foresee us fighting any major land wars in the near future so the Navy the R.A.F. should take priority to keep any enemies at bay long before they even got to our country. The Navy is also used to project and enforce Britain’s power and influence around the World, it is an ambassador for Britain and it keeps the sea lanes open on which we depend so much as an island. Britain has a long and proud history in the Navy and it only makes sense as an island nation, it will be great to see the Royal Navy growing again in the modern age.

  3. Evening all
    £1bn over two years, so Telegraph half right.
    Money has now been committed, on top of the extra money given in the summer.
    It gives the MoD room for manoeuvre now with MDP coming up.
    Interesting times ahead

    • Phil mentioned it was 1BN in lieu of the full review next year. For me it recognizes there is a funding issue and hopefully will be taken into account in the fuller review.

      I suspect it’s readiness and crews rather than extra kit at this stage (for asw) as well as acceleration of dreadnought program in order to save money later.

  4. What are they hiding?

    “Work on the F-35, by a consortium led by the US-based Lockheed Martin, began in 1996 and was scheduled for completion in 2012 but has been beset by problems. The US estimate of the total cost of the programme jumped from £174bn in 2001 to £283bn this year.

    The MoD has so far refused to provide the estimated cost to the UK of buying the F-35, beyond referring to a National Audit Office report that put the total UK cost of the programme through to 2026 at £9.1bn. The MoD declined to offer even a rough figure beyond 2026.
    The defence committee said: “[We view] the MoD’s failure to provide adequate cost estimates, either on an overall programme basis or on a per-aircraft basis, as wholly unsatisfactory. It amounts to an open-ended financial commitment which can be quantified only in retrospect.”
    The committee said it recognised the difficulties in arriving at an estimate. “However, it is simply not acceptable for the MoD to refuse to disclose to parliament and the public its estimates for the total cost of the programme and to suggest instead that we must wait until the mid-2030s (when all 138 F-35s have been procured) to be able to work out a full unit cost for each aircraft, once spares and upgrades are included.”

    • Could this be the reason?

      The total SDD bill, up to the incomplete development of Block 3F and the arbitrary end of SDD, is $55.5 billion (in then-year $).

      This means that the JPO is implying that a mere 20% add-on (Winter’s $11 billion) to the prior development bill will pay for:
      a) completing and flight testing Block 3F,
      b) fixing and flight testing 1000+ known and serious SDD deficiencies,
      c) fixing and flight testing the myriad undiscovered deficiencies sure to emerge during the much more rigorous IOT&E tests starting next year, and
      d) developing and flight testing the whole wish list of Block 4 “modernization” capabilities.

      This appears impossible, and is one reason that the 2017 DOT&E Annual Report assessed the current C2D2 plan as “unexecutable”.

      The sums are even more improbable for procurement of C2D2, which is estimated by Winter to cost $5 billion for buying and retrofitting the C2D2/Block 4 capabilities for all 998 F-35s projected to be in the fleet as of 2024.

      This implies that buying and retrofitting all the Block 4 capabilities — plus all the unresolved deficiency fixes — will cost about $5 million per aircraft, which appears improbably low.

      Substantial additional costs for foreign partners.

      Because of the way the program is structured, the six foreign partners can expect to pay hefty additional costs for the C2D2 upgrade.

      Winter said development costs will be shared with U.S. allies, leaving the Department of Defense on the hook for $7.2 billion, Flight International reported March 8, meaning that partner nations will have to cough up an additional $3.8 billion.

      In a Dec. 19 report, the House of Commons Defence Committee wrote (p. 23) that “Lockheed Martin also informed the Committee that following the completion of the SDD phase, the partner nations in the programme “are committed to developing enhancements to in-service aircraft through ‘Continuous Capability Development and Delivery (C2/D2)”. According to Lockheed Martin, they expect the UK to “pay approximately 4.5% of the total cost to develop and integrate new capabilities into the F-35”

          • Not quite sure how you worked that one out Ron5?

            “However, it is simply not acceptable for the MoD to refuse to disclose to parliament and the public its estimates for the total cost of the programme and to suggest instead that we must wait until the mid-2030s (when all 138 F-35s have been procured) to be able to work out a full unit cost for each aircraft, once spares and upgrades are included.”

        • (Chris H) Nigel Collins – and here we go again .. your favourite hobbyhorse supported by not a lot. But if you are so clued up on F-35 and are so keen on the costs why aren’t you so keen on the benefits of the UK being a Tier One Partner? You present a very negative one sided argument.

          LM and others reckon the F-35 programme has benefited UK manufacturing to the tune of $12.9 Bn as of January 2018 when some 300 aircraft have been built. Given its a 3,000 aircraft programme that could benefit UK Incorporated to the tune of some $129 Bn.

          But lets be fair: An F-35B @ LRIP contract price = $115 Mn, we are looking for some 138 which will cost some $15.9 Bn and lets say LM only builds 1,500. So the ‘P & L’ tells me its:
          1,500 aircraft @ $12.9 Bn for 300 = $64.5 Bn
          138 F-35B @ $115 Mn = $15.9 Bn
          Nett profit = $48.6 Bn

          I think no matter how many ‘issues’ you throw at the F-35 the UK as a whole will do rather nicely and earn far more than it costs which means we we get all our aircraft for free and have a few Dollars extra to buy the drinks ..

          • Let’s see what the total cost and numbers are as nobody really seems to know Chris H apart from you that is! and what value the F35 will actually have ten years from now.

            It will not have full weapons capability until 2025 including internal fitting of Meteor, providing we pay for the upgrade to Block 4 software and hardware (4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.4)

            “EDITOR’S NOTE: The is no hurry for F-35 operators to decide, as the new Raytheon DAS will only be available, together with the Block 4 upgrade, until after 2023, when the first Lot 15 production aircraft will begin to roll off the assembly lines.

            At that time, the feasibility of retrofitting early production aircraft with the Raytheon DAS (and other Block 4 improvements, such as new computer, new EOTS and new panoramic cockpit display) will depend on their availability, as priority will obviously go to new aircraft on the production line.

            By our count, in 2023 there will be 343 “export” F-35s needing an upgrade, although given the high price of the upgrade it is probable some customers will prefer to skip it.)”


  5. I wonder if this will be the case seven years from now?

    “And Possibly” ” may not be able to” Already doubts are starting to appear!

    October 11/18: F-35i vs S-300 An Israeli official claims that Syria’s new S-300 is not a match for the IAF’s F-35i fighter aircraft. The official told external link Israel’s Army Radio on Wednesday that the Russian supplied air-defence missile system can be “defeated by Israel’s stealth fighters and possibly destroyed on the ground”. Tzachi Hanegbi also told the radio station that the S-300’s capabilities had long been factored into Israeli planning. The F-35 is designed as an ‘affordable stealth’ counterpart to the F-22 Raptor, in addition, the F-35i incorporates Israeli-made electronic counter-measures systems. Experts have noted external link that although the S-300 has systems that are designed to detect and track the presence of low observable aircraft such as the F-35i, its low-band early warning radars may not be able to accurately target the aircraft. The Russian government confirms that the delivery of the S-300 to Syria is a response to an incident last month that resulted in the downing of a Russian spy plane.

  6. A lot of countries have made a huge mistake with the very expensive, very expensive to operate and unreliable, F-35. And soon if not already not really stealthy either.


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