posted on Nov, 22 2007 @ 04:13 PM
You must really hate the USAF if you would wish the F-18 on them
But joking aside the USA needs the F-35. Even if you don't think the air forces would miss it, look at the possible future without the F-35
There suddenly is no US fighter that can be exported to friendly nations that compares with what the rest of the world is offering. Typhoon's and
Flankers would probably dominate world sales, the French might even secure exports for the otherwise perfectly fine Rafale.
Once a customer has been lost because you can't or wont supply them with what they want it is very hard to win them back (a study of UK fighter
exports since 1945 and who to would be helpful here, the lack of the P.1083 in the mid 50's started a rot that was never reversed)
In a nutshell, all the Hunter, Meteor and Vampire etc customers, then considered to be loyal UK client states and looking to buy high performance
replacements saw the P.1083 axed, then the Supermarine 545, then the Saro SR 177, and so the list went on. The result was an export bonanza for the
F-104 which it never really deserved, and for the Mirage family from a base of zero, and also for the MiG 21 to be sold to India where otherwise the
P.1083 might logically have been expected to follow the Hunter and then be replaced by the next British fighter, etc etc etc for many more countries
who traditionally bought British.
Stripped of new aircraft to sell the previously booming UK industry choked almost to death. Other advanced projects intended for the RAF and RN were
axed through a lack of money, the industry shrank to just two companies with 'global' capability by 1960, from a High point of 27 companies in 1945.
27 companies is obviously unsustainable, but the sudden and calamitous collapse of almost all of them was still shocking and largely avoidable.
Now transfer this tale from the UK to the USA and replace 'Hunter, Meteor and Vampire' with 'F-16 and F-18' and also replace F-104 and Mirage with
Typhoon and Rafale and replace P1083 with F-35 and a history lesson turns into a prediction of the possible consequences of axing the F-35 for the US
You might think that is stretching things too far, but who in 1953, when Hawker were ordered to stop work on the 'Supersonic Hunter' could have
predicted what the next decade was going to bring for the UK industry?
[edit on 22-11-2007 by waynos]