This will involve the storage, shipping and management of spare parts for over four hundred F-35s for decades to come. The Woensdrecht Logistics Centre (LCW) of the Royal Netherlands Air Force will take the storage of the equipment in hand. In addition, about 70 Dutch companies will benefit from this contract.
Minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert received the good news straight from her American counterpart James Mattis at the Pentagon. The director of the F-35 programme, Vice Admiral Mathias Winter, later informed her of the details.
‘After years of political debate, we now see that the decision to follow up the F-16 with the F-35 exceeds expectations from an economic point of view as well. Operationally, it is the best aircraft, and it is also generating contracts for Dutch companies. This is wonderful news for the Netherlands and a compliment to the Dutch industrial sector as well. It is illustrative of the cooperation between the government and industry, as well as of the quality of our businesses, on a day with such good reports about economic growth.’
Minister Kamp (Economic Affairs) also welcomes the news: ‘The arrival of the European distribution centre for F-35 parts confirms and further consolidates the position of the Netherlands as a distribution country. This will create employment and is expected to generate several hundred million in additional turnover for our distribution sector.’
The companies will be involved in the management of the spare parts. The driving force that secured this contract for the Netherlands is OneLogistics, a partnership of Dutch businesses from the top sector of Logistics, knowledge centres and the Ministries of Defence, Economic Affairs, and Infrastructure and the Environment. The Netherlands started competing for the storage and logistical aspects of spare parts back in 2016, competing with various other partners.
‘I am happy to see the investments in the top sector of Logistics paying off this way,’ says Minister Schultz van Haegen (Infrastructure and the Environment). ‘This is good for business and for our country.’
Maintenance of the F-35s is being handled intelligently, with spare parts sent to a central warehouse in Europe. From there, they can be packaged and shipped rapidly, including customs clearance and export licensing. As shipping the parts will involve airspace as well as roads, the European warehouse at the LCW will have an advance post at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. The approach proposed by the Netherlands will keep the logistical overhead down, optimise supplies and focus on the reliable availability of F-35 aircraft. The Pentagon decided in favour of the Dutch proposal because of this integral approach.
The new warehouse is the first step towards a modern logistics concept for F-35 parts in Europe. By securing this distribution centre, the Netherlands has strengthened its position as a leader in logistics.
The Netherlands was previously selected as one of the countries that will service the engines of the new fighter aircraft, along with Australia, Norway, Turkey and other countries. A test facility and a workshop are being constructed at the LCW as part of the global maintenance infrastructure for the F-35 engines.
The Netherlands has been a partner in the F-35 programme since 2002, with the private sector benefiting from F-35 construction and maintenance contracts. In 2013, the Dutch government decided to replace the F-16 with the F-35. The aircraft meets our country’s operational requirements, while participation in the programme generates contracts and employment.
Following the maintenance of engines, the starter engine and the landing mechanism, this is the fourth success for the Netherlands in the field of F-35 maintenance in a short space of time.