Exclusive: Belgium considers Lockheed F-35 to replace F-16s - source

WASHINGTON Tue Sep 17, 2013 10:01am EDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. government officials have briefed the Belgian government about the capabilities of the Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) F-35 fighter jet, as Brussels prepares to replace its aging fleet of 60 F-16s, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The source, who was not authorized to speak publicly, said Belgium was considering buying 35 to 55 of the new radar-evading F-35 jets. No decisions are expected until late 2014 at the earliest.

Belgium was one of the original NATO partners to buy the F-16 fighter jet, also built by Lockheed; but unlike Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands, it did not join the international consortium that funded development of the F-35.

U.S. government officials have visited Belgium to discuss the F-35, which is being built to replace the F-16 and a dozen other warplanes in use around the world, according to the source.

Neither Lockheed nor a spokesman for the Pentagon's F-35 program office had any immediate comment.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal-Esa, editing by Ros Krasny and Gerald E. McCormick)

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Comments (1)
kadodder wrote:
If the Netherlands can only procure 37 of these too expensive new fighters, how could Belgium possibly buy even 35 of these. And look at all the sacrifices the Netherlands Air Force has to do to be able to afford only 37 of these fighters.

Sep 20, 2013 4:05am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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