Belgium rejects new fighter jets as US manufacturer faces software delays
Belgium will not accept two F-35A fighter aircraft that were due to be delivered by US manufacturer Lockheed Martin at the end of this year. VRT NWS reported the decision on Tuesday and it was confirmed to Belga by a spokesperson for Defence minister Ludivine Dedonder.
Problems at Lockheed Martin are delaying the introduction of new software and screens. Belgium’s Defence ministry now expects the planes to be delivered with a delay of at least six months. The US government is also refusing new F-35s.
Belgium has . The aircraft are in production and the first ones will be on the final assembly line shortly.
“Based on the current schedule, the hardware will be ready by December 2023,” the Defence spokesperson told VRT. “The certification and qualification of the software and the final delivery of the aircraft depend on the results of the test campaign and are currently estimated at the second quarter of 2024.”
Training of Belgian pilots in the US will also start later than planned as a result.
A demonstration of an F-35A Lightning II in Utah, December 2022 © U.S. AIR FORCE/ZUMA PRESS WIRE SERVICE /ZUMAPRESS.COM