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    In this Feb. 28, 2017, photo, a Lockheed Martin F-35A Lighting II from the 323 Squadron, Royal Netherlands Air Force flies through the nicknamed Star Wars Canyon on the Jedi transition in Death Valley National Park, Calif.

    Netherlands to Buy More F-35 Jets for Following NATO Demands

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    The Netherlands announced on Friday it will increase its defence spending in the coming year to buy more F-35 fighter jets and boost its Special Forces and cyber capabilities.

    The plans include the purchase of 15 more advanced F-35A fighter jets made by the US’s Lockheed Martin, Defence Minister Ank Bijleveld told the ANP news agency.

    “Extra investment in defence is a necessity because our surrounding safety zone has become a more unstable place. There are more threats to contend with and threats have become more complex,” the Defence Ministry said in a statement issued after a weekly cabinet meeting in The Hague.

    The country had already purchased 37 F-35A stealth fighters, expected to become operational in 2019, which is enough for two squadrons. However, NATO has insisted on a third, the ANP said.

    READ MORE: British Navy and Air Force Face Off in Dispute Over New F-35 Jets – Reports

    Each F-35A currently costs $89.2 million (78.9 million euros), according to Lockheed Martin.

    The decision came as both US President Donald Trump and NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg called on allies in the bloc to raise their defence spending, following an agreement between member states in 2014 to spend two percent of GDP on their militaries.

    “This plan shows that cabinet is serious about the current threats. The Netherlands must take steps to show it will remain a reliable partner,” Bijleveld said.

    The details of the plan and the budget will be released in the spring of 2019, the Dutch Defence Ministry said, noting that it will also improve “land and sea-based firepower” and boost special forces and cyber warfare capabilities.

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    Tags:
    F-35 purchase, F-35A, NATO, Ank Bijleveld, Jens Stoltenberg, Netherlands
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