February 1, 2018
U.S. Embassy to Belgium, Brussels
U.S. Government Presents Best and Final Offer for the Belgian Defense Air Combat Capability Program
On February 14, the U.S. F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO) submitted its Best and Final Offer (BaFO) for the F-35 as the optimal choice in response to the Belgian Defense Air Combat Capability Program Request for Government Proposal (RfGP). The BaFO is the culmination of a comprehensive, year-long process to ensure that Belgium’s largest-ever defense investment acquires the best value, capability, and partnership for decades into the future.
With this BaFO, the United States invites Belgium to join European allies United Kingdom, Italy, The Netherlands, Denmark, and Norway in selecting the F-35 as the standard for air power, in Europe and beyond. The United States seeks to set the stage for another four decades of proven interoperability, leading-edge performance, and technological partnership. The F-35 will enable Belgium to continue its substantive and significant participation in NATO and coalition missions.
The United States government congratulates the Belgian government for its steadfast commitment to the fair and open process specified by the RfGP. The Belgian Air Combat Capability team ensured that Belgium now has the necessary information to evaluate the competitors. The F-35 Joint Program Office invested considerable effort to craft an offer that enables our Belgian allies to acquire the F-35’s unmatched capabilities well within the budget specified by the Strategic Vision for Defense 2030.
Speaking to an audience of alliance and industry partners, Chargé d’Affaires, a.i., Matthew Lussenhop declared, “The F-35 program of record already comprises over 3,000 aircraft and the aircraft is at the beginning of its operational life cycle. The F-35 is not only the most capable fighter aircraft in the world today, it also solidifies the security and defense relationships with all nations that will operate the F35 well into the future. Joining the F35 program provides access to technology that support all of Belgium’s Essential Security Interests and opens the door to related projects with potential returns well in excess of the initial investment – just like the F16 program has in the past.”
The F-35 is a European solution that underscores the United States’ desire to maintain the strong government and industry partnership with Belgium developed over the past 40 years. Belgian F-16s not only play a key role in military coalition operations, but represent an investment that has brought significant returns to the now renowned Belgian aerospace industry.
Lockheed Martin has reiterated its strong engagement with Belgian industry partners through Memoranda of Agreement (MOAs) with firms like Sabena Aerospace, Ignition!, Asco Industries, and Feronyl. Another MOA between Pratt & Whitney, the F-35 engine producer, and the Belgium Engine Center highlights broader industry ties that respond to the Essential Security Interests outlined in the RfGP. This is evident in the fact that up to 25 percent of the F-35’s components are produced in Europe so Belgium would be able to maintain its technical expertise in addition to competing in the greater market of support for the global F-35 fleet.