04:29 GMT15 July 2020
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    In February, the US defense contractor Lockheed Martin and a European consortium of aerospace manufacturers became the only two participants in a competition to provide state-of-the-art warplanes to Belgium, pitting the F-35 against the Eurofighter Typhoon.

    Brussels has picked the advanced US F-35 Lightning II fighter jet to replace Belgium's aging fleet of F-16 jets, the Belgian newspaper DeMorgen cited several government sources as saying on Monday.

    "The decision has already been made in favor of the F-35," the sources pointed out.

    READ MORE: US Approves Possible F-35 Deal With Belgium

    Last month, US Ambassador to Belgium Ronald Gidwitz urged the Belgian government to make a decision on the tender for acquiring 34 new fighter jets by mid-October. The latest deadline for the decision was reportedly scheduled for October 29.

    His remarks came after the US aerospace company Lockheed Martin and the European consortium which manufactures the Eurofighter Typhoon became the only participants in the competition to re-equip the Belgian Air Force with new-generation fighter bombers. The consortium is a joint project between the UK's BAE Systems, France's Airbus, and the Italian aerospace firm Leonardo.

    The new aircraft are due to replace the fleet of F-16 fighters that have been in service with the Belgian Air Force since the early 1980s.

    The Belgian government reportedly plans to allocate a total of 15 billion euros (17.2 billion dollars) for the purchase and maintenance of the 34 new warplanes.


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    decision, fighter jet, government, competition, deadline, F-35, United States, Belgium
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