Early January saw the arrival of the first F-35A for the Volkel AB based 312 squadron. After a flypast over its future home in the South of The Netherlands the aircraft landed at Leeuwarden AB in the North of the country. Here the acceptance of all European built F-35s for the Koninklijke Luchtmacht (KLu, Royal Netherlands Air Force) is done.
This particular aircraft was earmarked for onward delivery to 323 Test and Evaluation Squadron (TES) at Edwards AFB in California, USA. Here the Dutch Air Force have a detachment for Operational Test & Evaluation of the F-35. However the decision was made to send two other still to be delivered aircraft that will be in Block 4 configuration, whereas F-039 is in Block 3 configuration and is only earmarked to be upgraded to Block 4 in the future.
At the moment 312 squadron is supposed to receive all remaining to be delivered F-35s apart from the two that will go to the USA, which will give them a total strength of 12 aircraft. However if and when the Dutch government will order more F-35s, the squadron will no doubt receive a few more to get to full squadron strength like its counterparts 313 squadron and 322 squadron.