posted on Jul, 2 2007 @ 09:01 AM
... Or this could be a fatal error, damaging export prospects not just for the F-35 but other key high end US technologies. And I believe that this
statement from bdn12 neatly illustrates why.
I totally agree with you. The F-35 is the plane that was designed to be exported to allies and to make money. The F-22 was not designed for
other countries and people knew it wasn't going to be a money-making plane like the F-16. It was made for the U.S.A., and solely the U.S.A., to have
complete air dominance in the future.
Now I am not unrealistic, building aircraft is a business not a charity, but how many prospective clients in any industry would feel comfortable
knowing you were keeping your best product for yourself (or your biggest home grown client) while you get a still expensive second or compromised
third tier? Not many me thinks? In the rest of the business world you would immediately look at what other suppliers can offer. Now I realise that for
most western countries these days there aren't too many other choices if you don't like the F-35 and wanted the Raptor. If the Typhoon doesn't
float your boat you have no choice and that will increasingly annoy people. It feels like the US deliberately set up a monopolistic trap, even if that
wasn't it's intention. Many western nations had their A/C manufacturing industries wrecked in the 50's, 60's and 70's by their own short sighted
politicians and the obligation to pay back the US for all that WWII lend lease gear, by buying US for their defence forces. I believe waynos's
observation of the F-16/79 and Tigershark's fate is an earlier example of this annoyance. Both of them were given the barge pole treatment by Air
Forces you could have almost guaranteed would purchase the aircraft. And the reason was simple, "we don't want your second best, what is this new
imperialism?". As waynos said the US could loose a lot of sales to the Euro canards or the Russians over this point.
So what do I think they will do and what will happen? For the most part little. Some may grumble then begrudgingly accept their fate, or as a f##k you
protest, buy European or maybe Sukhoi's. But the richer and more technically resourced may go it alone or several team up to build their own "F-22"
or what they deem necessary, and this is not as far fetched as it seems. Japan is probably the most capable and given their current investment in an
indigenous turbofan airlifter and maritime patrol/ASW program they have shown the capacity and willingness to do so. If they were to team up with say
the Israelis and one or two others it would be quite achievable. Yes I know I know, what your thinking, the cost, the technology required would be
prohibitive. Well yes and no. Just because the US blew obscene amounts of money on the F-22 and F-35 R&D doesn't mean everybody else would follow the
same mistakes. Just look at how little the Japanese have spent on the tactical airlifter and MPA program. And lets not forget that low RCS mockup
concept they put together a couple of years back for a crash program fighter. It would seem they learnt a few lessons from the expensive 1980's/90's
FS-X/(F-2) "reinvention of the F-16 wheel" fiasco. If the US could be arm twisted into selling engines or one or two other technologies it becomes
much easier (the Israelis seem to have an uncanny knack of doing that). And of course the implied threat of "well if you don’t, we will go it alone
on engines and radars etc" might be enough of a scare to make such sales a possibility. After all it would be better for the US to have that wedge in
case the aircraft were being offered to someone down the track that they wouldn't want to see getting their hands on a possible Raptor or Lightning
II counterpart, free of the strings of US export controls.
So do I think this is likely? Probably not, but if the US continues to blatantly "hog" all the best technology to itself like the F-22 while
offering downgraded but still expensive second tier fighters, it may just force the issue upon itself.
Incidentally Westy, why the change to a monochrome avatar? Is this an unwritten comment about how you see the US these days?
[edit on 2-7-2007 by thebozeian]