Friday, 12 December 2014 - 10:04
Defense Minister thrashed over JSF price guarantees
Minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert is in trouble because of a conversation with her American colleagues about the JSF. In this conversation Hennis made an agreement with the US government about the price of the device, NOS reports. Months ago Hennis spoke to the US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel about the Netherlands' cost estimate for the purchase of the JSF. This is approximately 4.5 billion euro for 37 aircraft. Hage personally reassured her that the Netherlands will not have to worry that the purchase will cost more. NOS reports that Hennis took this as a guarantee. When D66 Parliament Member Hachchi asked Hennis about this on November 13th, the minister denied that she had a guarantee agreement. She also said nothing about the course of her conversation with Hagel regarding the cost estimate. "Especially in this sensitive issue we want to know where we stand." said SP Parliament Member Van Dijk. "If the minister gave the Chamber incomplete information, she has a big problem." The SP points out that the JSF has only become more expensive in recent years due to delays and technical problems. The question about what the JSF (the replacement for the F-16) will cost, has been keeing politics in the Hague busy for ten years. The Second Chamber wants every bit of information about this matter, but this seems not to be the case. "The minister has no other information, about prices or otherwise, than has been reported in the Chamber following the cabinet decision of September 2013 on the F-35. There is pertinent no question of an agreement on the price." The Ministry of Defense said in a statement. The Members of Parliament had a debate on the JSF last night in which they discussed whether they think the minister briefed them fully and adequately. If that is not the case, Minister Hennis' political future may be uncertain.