THE HAGUE, Netherlands, Oct. 29 (UPI) -- A maintenance workshop and test facility for engines powering F-35 Lightning II aircraft is being constructed in the Netherlands by the Ministry of Defense.
The facility, scheduled to open in 2019, will be at the Woensdrecht Logistics Center and will be for use by F-35 engines of the Dutch and Italian militaries, but may be made available to others later on.
The Netherlands Ministry of Defense said the project was disclosed to parliament in a letter from Minister of Defense Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert,
"The arrival of F-35 engine maintenance in the Netherlands is beneficial for Defense and for the Dutch defense industry," Hennis-Plasschaert wrote. "It leads to sustaining high quality knowledge on engine maintenance and lays a solid foundation for the Logistic Center Woensdrecht.
"In addition, it improves the chances of the Dutch defense industry in the acquisition of additional F-35 maintenance and also creates opportunities for other companies included within the aerospace and defense sector."
Funding for the investment for the facility is estimated between $88.2 million and $99.3 million. The Ministry of Defense will contribute half the amount, while the remainder will be shared by the Economic Affairs Ministry and the province of Noord-Brabant.
The fully equipped engine maintenance center will be the property of the Ministry of Defense but the maintenance work on the F-35 engines itself will be carried out by a private partner, as is the case for engines repair centers for the country's F-16 fighters.
A tender for the construction work will soon be issued, the Ministry of Defense said.