Mrt 29 2011

Countries look to delay F-35 purchases amid cost fears

Gepubliceerd door om 23:49 onder Global F35 News, Ontwikkeling JSF

Canadian website Embassy Online reports about the raising fears of several countries about the delay and cost rises of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

Some quotes:
On condition of anonymity, the diplomat said his country is definitely worried about the situation as a result of recent developments.
The international JSF program, now expected by a the US Government Accountability Office to cost all participating countries more than $1 trillion after $23 billion in increases since 2007, is exposed to uncertainty due to its dependence on a global supply chain and big orders from over a dozen United States allies.

The US says the vast list of international JSF orders achieves an economy of scale: The more of them made, the cheaper the cost of each plane. But the flipside to this equation is that every time a partner country reduces or delays its promise to buy the F-35 from US-based contractor Lockheed Martin, the cost of the planes is projected upwards.
That introduces uncertainty into the international program, and governments get nervous.

This happened on Mar. 22, when Turkey put its order for 100 F-35s indefinitely on hold. The country was reportedly concerned that the US was not sharing its source code for the plane, and that these code secrets could be turned against Turkey if they attacked a US ally. The Turkish government found that the conditions were not right to move ahead, and postponed the decision until the next meeting in December, said Turkey’s ambassador to Ottawa, Rafet Akgänay.

UK and Israël: lower quantities

But the UK, traditionally the biggest US military ally, also plans to trim its F-35 purchases from 138 planes to as few as 40 after the country underwent a massive military spending cut. And Israel, which was originally looking at buying over 75 F-35s, is only buying a batch of 19 at the moment, with the option to buy more at a later date. Both Israeli Embassy and the British High Commission declined requests for an interview.

Election issue in Canada

The F-35 is already promising to be a big issue in Campaign 2011 with the Liberals raising it several times on the hustings. As well, the Conservatives are trying to contain the fallout from the recent revelation that one of their candidates in the current election was a lobbyist until last December for Lockheed.

Pollsters say the fighter jet tops the short list of foreign policy controversies that could end up defining the campaign if leaders begin pushing the issue as a ballot box question.

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