Some excerpts from the Embassy magazine regarding details released by Wikileaks cables detailing efforts by US to sell F-35 JSF fighter aircraft. Link to the full article is listed below.
Leaked US diplomatic cables reveal a concerted, multi-departmental American lobbying effort in 2008 to convince Norwegian policymakers to purchase F-35 fighter jets instead of a Swedish-made rival for fear rejecting the stealth aircraft could influence other countries.
The campaign was designed to talk up the F-35’s capabilities in public while applying “forceful” pressure on Norwegian officials in private. At the same time, there was an apparent effort to influence the Norwegian decision by withholding a key component for the Swedish aircraft.
The revelations could resurrect questions about the role the US government played in Canada’s decision to purchase the same planes, which has already been the subject of intense debate.
In 2008, the Norwegian government was looking to replace its aging fleet of F-16 fighters, and was trying to decide between US-based Lockheed Martin’s new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, or JSF, and Saab’s Gripen fighter aircraft.
A decision was due to be announced on Dec. 18, 2008, and in the final few months, with Saab undertaking an aggressive campaign based on stronger industrial benefits to Norway, the tide was turning towards the Gripen.
Playing the waiting game
Three months earlier, on June 25, 2008, US ambassador to Sweden Michael Wood met with Swedish Defence Minister Sten Tolgfors to discuss using a US-made radar in the Saab Gripen. According to a cable from the US Embassy in Stockholm, including the AESA radar in the Swedish-made plane “would enhance Nordic region air coverage and [NATO] interoperability.”
Read Full Article