Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Allies delaying F-35 purchases

The Norwegian government says it will delay its purchase of 16 of 20 F-35A Joint Strike Fighters as part of its bid to slash spending.

The Norwegian Defense Ministry said the order would be pushed back by two years to 2018, reaffirming, however, its commitment as a "serious and credible partner" to the Joint Strike Fighters program.
Defense Minister Grete Faremo said the delay signaled Norway's desire to buy a "more mature" aircraft at an optimum production cost, not any weakening of confidence in the Joint Strike Fighters project.
She also said the delay won't obstruct efforts by Norwegian industries to negotiate up to $5 billion in F-35-related offset contracts from U.S. partners.

"Norwegian industry has already obtained contracts worth $350 million. Overall, the industry has good prospects to secure contracts for more than $5 billion," Faremo was quoted saying in a report by Flight Global.
So they're not buying until 2018. But in the meantime, this Norwegian minister is stating that her country is primed for about $5 billion in contracts (out of what Clement touts as $12 billion in total). That word "offset" makes its way into the report although it's not clear if Norway actually has received "offsets," or, what we in Canada would call "industrial benefits." Note also the Norwegian choice is to buy a more "mature" aircraft, later in the process, once actual costs to produce are presumably going to be known and any kinks are worked out. Sounds smart. That's what Boris is getting at today.

Secondly, the Dutch, who have just entered into a tenuous coalition government, are staying in the JSF programme and will be buying a test plane next year. But the coalition is reducing the number of jets from the 85 it had planned to buy without saying what the final number will be. They are putting off the decision beyond the life of this coalition government, which is tentatively slotted to run until 2015.

Some context for what the Harper government is saying about maneuverability within the JSF MOU and, beyond that, as to what sovereign nations can choose to do.