First F-35 fighter jets will arrive in Belgium in 2025

The first of the fleet of the F-35 fighter jets that have been ordered to replace the Belgian Air Force’s current fleet of F-16s won’t arrive in Belgium until 2025. The information on when the first F-35 will arrive here came in a reply by the Defence Minister Steven Vandeput (Flemish nationalist) to a question tabled by the Flemish Christian democrat federal MP Veli Yüksel.    

Although four jets will be delivered in 2023 and a further four in 2024 they will remain in storage at an airbase in the American state of Arizona where they will be used to train Belgian pilots.

The first eight F-35 will arrive in 2025. The remaining 26 aircraft that have been ordered will be delivered here between 2025 and 2030.   

Mr Yüksel told journalists that “By then all the deficiencies in that currently exists with aircraft will have been resolved”

“It is of the greatest importance that this phased approach doesn’t impact the deployability and the operational capability of Belgium’s fighter jets”, Mr Yüksel added.  

He also pointed to the fact that the current fleet of F-16 will start to be decommissioned from 2023.

 “We will have to be vigilant that there are no delays as our air force must continue to honour its commitments to our European and international partners. This is of the essence to also ensure our security here in Belgium”.