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Nuclear Role for Netherlands F-35 from June

An F-35 [Dutch MoD press release image]

On 01 June 2024 the F-35 advanced fighter aircraft will fully take over the nuclear role of the Netherlands within NATO from the F-16.

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Press Release, The Hague, 30 May 2024: The Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) is set to take a next step in the transition from the F-16 to the F-35. On 1 June 2024, the advanced fighter aircraft will fully take over the nuclear role of the Netherlands within NATO from the F-16.

The Netherlands is one of the NATO Allies that contribute Dual-Capable Aircraft to NATO’s nuclear deterrence and is the first European country transitioning to the F-35 in that context. Netherlands Minister of Defence Kajsa Ollongren informed the Dutch House of Representatives today regarding the matter.

The Dutch transition from the F-16 to the F-35 for the nuclear role within NATO was initiated many years ago. In the last couple of years, the F-35 underwent a comprehensive testing and certification process for the nuclear role of the Netherlands. The RNLAF already started using the F-35 for conventional tasks. Similar to the F-16s, Volkel Air Base will be home to the Dual-Capable Aircraft F-35 squadron assigned to the nuclear role.

The transition reaffirms the Netherlands’ long-term commitment to the Alliance’s nuclear deterrence. NATO’s nuclear deterrence is essential to the security of the Alliance, and therefore also to the security of the Netherlands. The fundamental purposes of NATO’s nuclear capability is to preserve peace, prevent coercion and deter aggression.

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