The F-35s Will Take Over The Netherlands’ Nuclear Role Within NATO Starting Tomorrow | Aviation

F-35 dropping an inert B61 during a test in 2020 (USAF)

The nuclear role transitions from the F-16 to the F-35.

Beginning on June 1, 2024, the F-35 will fully assume the Netherlands’ nuclear responsibilities within NATO, replacing the F-16, in what is yet another step towards the full transition from the “Viper” (as the F-16 is nicknamed among fighter pilots) to the Lightning II 5th generation aircraft.

The Netherlands, which contributes Dual-Capable Aircraft to NATO’s nuclear deterrence, will be the first European nation to switch to the F-35 for this role. Dutch Defence Minister Kajsa Ollongren updated the House of Representatives on this development today.

The shift from the F-16 to the F-35 for NATO’s nuclear mission has been planned for many years. Over recent years, the F-35 has undergone extensive testing and certification to take on the Netherlands’ nuclear responsibilities. Like the F-16s, the Dual-Capable Aircraft F-35 squadron dedicated to the nuclear mission will be based at Volkel Air Base.


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