Sunday, July 17, 2011

More indecision on F-35 in Europe

Some things, at least the preferred fighter jets to buy, apparently are never really decided in Europe. Not without major reviews and re-thinking which, given the economic and government budgets situation across the Atlantic (and on this side too?) may not be unwarranted.
Aviation Week reports that an upcoming election could either clarify or further muddy the picture in Denmark, where the staunch U.S. ally and longtime F-16 operators has hedged a bit on its previous commitments to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program.
Denmark last year delayed a decision on whether to buy the F-35 , Boeing F/A-18E/F or Saab Gripen NG. The fall electionas well as Denmark's role in aiding the NATO operations in Libyan could put new momentum behind the Dane's aircraft shopping plans. Although Denmark was an original partner nation in the F-35 development consortium, the country has since opted to hold a competition for its next tactical aircraft purchase.
Meanwhile, over on AvWeek's Ares blog, the ever vigilant Bill Sweetman reports the Dutch are leaning towards delaying purchases of F-35 production jets until late in the decade, not taking first delivery until around 2019.
- Bob Cox