Home Exercises and reports Aircraft Countries Air Show News Publications Contact
Royal Netherlands Air Force F-35 Lightning II
Latest update: October 2018
The F-35 Lightning II fifth generation fighter is developed by the United States and eight partner nations. In 2002 The Netherlands joint the program as a Tier 2 (Level 2) partner. Until it received its current designation the aircraft was known as Joint Strike Fighter (JSF). Lockheed Martin head test pilot Jon Beesly made the first with the JSF on December 15, 2006. Taking off from Fort Worth, Texas the aircraft flew for 35 minutes and reaching 15.000 feet. It marked the start of a 12.000 flight hour test program.

The Dutch goverment decided to buy two F-35As Lightning II to participate in the operational test and development phase of the Lightning II. In 2009 the contract was signed for the first aircraft followed in 2011 for the second F-35.

37 F-35A's are planned to be purchased for the Royal Netherlands Air Force. Current funding allows for 34 aircraft to be bought. From LRIP 12 these will be part of a block buy with the F-35 partners. During 2019 the Ministry of Defence will decide if and when the last three F-35s will be purchased.

The first eight F-35s will be build by Lockheed Martin at its Fort Worth, Texas plant. Two are engaged in the Operational Test and Development program and assigned to 323 TES based at Edwards AFB, California. Currently in various stages of production at Fort Worth are MSN AN-3 until AN-8. The first of these is expected to be delivered during early 2019. All six will be assigned to a fighter squadron of the 56th Fighter Wing at Luke AFB, Arizona.

In Italy (Leonardo FACO Cameri) final assembly of AN-9 began on June 15, 2018. It will be delivered to 322 squadron based at Leeuwarden.
More information about the F-35 Lightning II can be found at the website:

F-35 order and delivery reports (overview of current ordered and delivered aircraft and detailed production batches).
Luke Lightnings article about the 56th FW and its current and future F-35A squadrons/
F-35 to The Netherlands (May 23 - June 14, 2016).
Royal Netherlands Air Force F-35 production
Prod. Batch Prod. Lot MSN F-35A Prod. Plant Roll out First Flight Delivery date Status Squadron
LRIP 3 3 AN-1 F-001 Fort Worth, Texas 01-04-12 06-08-12 25-07-13 Active 323 TES
LRIP 4 4 AN-2 F-002 Fort Worth, Texas 02-03-13 27-06-13 12-09-13 Active 323 TES
LRIP 11 11 AN-3 F-003 Fort Worth, Texas Wk 4, 2019   Q1-2019 Prod. line NODF-35 (308th FS)
LRIP 11 11 AN-4 F-004 Fort Worth, Texas     Q1-2019 Prod. line NODF-35 (308th FS)
LRIP 11 11 AN-5 F-005 Fort Worth, Texas     Q1/Q2-2019 Prod. line NODF-35 (308th FS)
LRIP 11 11 AN-6 F-006 Fort Worth, Texas     Q1/Q2-2019 Prod. line NODF-35 (308th FS)
LRIP 11 11 AN-7 F-007 Fort Worth, Texas     Q2-2019 Prod. line NODF-35 (308th FS)
LRIP 11 11 AN-8 F-008 Fort Worth, Texas     Q2-2019 Prod. line NODF-35 (308th FS)
LRIP 11 11 AN-9 F-009 Cameri, Italy 20-01-19 17-07-19 31-10-19 Prod. line For 322 squadron
LRIP 11 11 AN-10 F-010 Cameri, Italy     Q4-2004 Prod. line For 322 squadron
LRIP 12 12 AN-11 F-011 Cameri, Italy     Q1-2020    
LRIP 12 12 AN-12 F-012 Cameri, Italy     Q1/Q2-2020    
LRIP 12 12 AN-13 F-013 Cameri, Italy     Q2-2020    
LRIP 12 12 AN-14 F-014 Cameri, Italy     Q2/Q3-2020    
LRIP 12 12 AN-15 F-015 Cameri, Italy     Q3-2020    
LRIP 12 12 AN-16 F-016 Cameri, Italy     Q3/Q4-2020    
LRIP 12 12 AN-17 F-017 Cameri, Italy     Q4-2020    
LRIP 12 12 AN-18 F-018 Cameri, Italy     Q1-2021    
LRIP 13 13 AN-19 F-019 Cameri, Italy     Q1-2021    
LRIP 13 13 AN-20 F-020 Cameri, Italy     Q1/Q2-2021    
LRIP 13 13 AN-21 F-021 Cameri, Italy     Q1/Q2-2021    
LRIP 13 13 AN-22 F-022 Cameri, Italy     Q2-2021    
LRIP 13 13 AN-23 F-023 Cameri, Italy     Q2/Q3-2021    
LRIP 13 13 AN-24 F-024 Cameri, Italy     Q3-2021    
LRIP 13 13 AN-25 F-025 Cameri, Italy     Q3/Q4-2021    
LRIP 13 13 AN-26 F-026 Cameri, Italy     Q4-2021    
LRIP 14 14 AN-27 F-027 Cameri, Italy     2022    
LRIP 14 14 AN-28 F-028 Cameri, Italy     2022    
LRIP 14 14 AN-29 F-029 Cameri, Italy     2022    
LRIP 14 14 AN-30 F-030 Cameri, Italy     2022    
LRIP 14 14 AN-31 F-031 Cameri, Italy     2022    
LRIP 14 14 AN-32 F-032 Cameri, Italy     2022    
LRIP 14 14 AN-33 F-033 Cameri, Italy     2022    
LRIP 14 14 AN-34 F-034 Cameri, Italy     2022    
FRP 15 15 AN-35 F-035 Cameri, Italy     2023    
FRP 15 15 AN-36 F-036 Cameri, Italy     2023    
FRP 15 15 AN-37 F-037 Cameri, Italy     2023    
Prod. Batch Production batch (FRP or LRIP).  
Prod. Lot Production lot.   
MSN /CN Manufacturer Serial Number.  
Prod. Plant Production plant.  
LRIP Low Rate Initial Production.  
FRP Full Rate Production.  
TBC To Be Confirmed. Decision to buy the remaining three F-35A's will be taken during 2019.  


Roll out of AN-9 (dates in blue) is expected on or around January 20th, 2019. Arrival at Leeuwarden is expected on October 31, 2019. Delivery of the last F-35A of LRIP 11 "AN-10" should be made by the end of December 2019 as all LRIP 11 aircraft are to be delivered by December 31, 2019.
Royal Netherlands Air Force F-35 milestones
More information will be added to below overview.

Date Royal Netherlands Air Force F-35A program highlights
17-10-18 MoD announced to buy the final three F-35s  confirming the buy of 37 aircraft. Order to be placed in October 2018
  to include these aircraft into the production of Lot 15 with delivery in 2023.
16-10-18 After a crash of an USMC F-35B a fleet wide inspection of the F-35s was ordered. The inspection revealed that
  one of the 323 TES F-35A's will need to receive new fuel lines.
15-06-18 Start of assembly of the first F-35A build by Leonardo at Camera Italy.
10-06-16 Official presentation to the public at the Luchtmachtdagen (Air Force Days) at Leeuwarden.
07-06-16 F-35A flight over The Netherlands.
26-05-16 Belevingsvluchten (experience flights)  for Leeuwarden and Volkel residents.
23-05-16 Arrival of the two F-35As at Leeuwarden Air Base.
16-01-15 Both F-35A's were flown (5 hour flight) from Eglin AFB, Florida to Edwards AFB, California. They joined
  the Operational Test & Evaluation phase.
04-11-14 323 squadron activated as the first RNLAF F-35 squadron at Eglin AFB, Florida on Tuesday November 4, 2014
18-12-13 The first F-35A (F-001) solo flight by a RNLAF was conducted by Major Laurens Jan Vijge from Eglin AFB, Florida..
10-10-13 The first Dutch pilots started the pilot training program theoratic phase with first flights planned in December.
  Training commenced to be ready for the operational test and development phase to start in 2015.
25-07-13 First F-35A (AN-1 / F-001) handed over by the US DoD.
04-04-13 Both F-35s grounded until the government made a decision about the replacement of the F-16. See note
06-03-13 Second F-35A (F-002) rolled of the production line at Fort, Worth, Texas.
06-08-12 Roll out of the first Dutch F-35A (F-001).
09-02-12 Jet engine installed on the first F-35A (F-001).
14-11-06 Poduction Sustainment & Follow-on Development (PSFD) Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed with US.
2011 Order for the second (test) RNLAF F-35A.
02-06-09 Order for the first (test) RNLAF F-35A.
29-02-08 Government decided to take part in the Initial Operational Test and Evaluation phase (IOT&E).
2002 Netherlands Tier / Level 2 partner JSF (Joint Strike Fighter Progeam).
Note Comment
1 During the period the F-35s were grounded USAF pilots flew the aircraft to keep them airworthy.
2 PSFD: The PSFD MoU has a validity of 45 years and is intended to ensure the operational operability of the device
  in an effective and efficient manner throughout its life.
3 System, Development and Demonstration Phase

Photo gallery
First visit at Volkel by  F-002/OT May 26, 2016.

Flyby by F-001/OT at Soesterberg on June 7, 2016. 

Presentation to the public during its first appearance at an air show. Leeuwarden, luchtmachtdagen 2016.