F-35 - International Participation

OPSSG

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Corporal Frisk is a great blogger, that I am a big fan of. He notes that the Lockheed Martin DSCA notification is for 64 F-35A and the Boeing has a total of 72 (50 F/A-18E, 8 twin-seat F/A-18F, and 14 EA-18G Growlers).

It is unlikely, that Finland would acquire 64 F-35As under the DSCA — 72 Super Hornets/Growlers under the DSCA would not fit the operating budget. The final mix of the Boeing offer is still up in the air — 40 F/A-18E, 8 F/A-18F, and 12 EA-18G for a likely fleet of 62.
 
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Yama

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That makes up only 60 Hornets...
Reportedly, none of the initial offerings fit to the 10 billion € budget for 64 planes. So the armament needs to be cut, or number of aircraft, or both. No word which competitors had the most problems.
 

ngatimozart

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Corporal Frisk is a great blogger, that I am a big fan of. He notes that the Lockheed Martin DSCA notification is for 64 F-35A and the Boeing has a total of 72 (50 F/A-18E, 8 twin-seat F/A-18F, and 14 EA-18G Growlers).

It is unlikely, that Finland would acquire 64 F-35As under the DSCA — 72 Super Hornets/Growlers under the DSCA would not fit the operating budget. The final mix of the Boeing offer is still up in the air — 40 F/A-18E, 8 F/A-18F, and 12 EA-18G for a likely fleet of 62.
That makes up only 60 Hornets...
Reportedly, none of the initial offerings fit to the 10 billion € budget for 64 planes. So the armament needs to be cut, or number of aircraft, or both. No word which competitors had the most problems.
Remember that the DSCA notification costs are an indication only and are at the high end of the scale. If Finland decides to go with a US capability, it will then enter into negotiations with the US over price, terms etc., so the actual final cost per platform most likely will be somewhat less, enabling a greater numbers of platforms to be acquired than the current costings indicate.
 

Yama

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Yes the DSCA number is just 'if all of this would be bought, which it won't'. However the director of the HX program flat out stated that none of the competitors made it under €10B in their first round responses. Which basically means that FAF needs to start cutting the requirements and manufacturers have to rethink what they view as essential offerings for meeting the Finnish requirements.
 

John Fedup

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Yes the DSCA number is just 'if all of this would be bought, which it won't'. However the director of the HX program flat out stated that none of the competitors made it under €10B in their first round responses. Which basically means that FAF needs to start cutting the requirements and manufacturers have to rethink what they view as essential offerings for meeting the Finnish requirements.
Another factor is the Euro to USD exchange after the November election. Any kind of post election crisis could result in a lower USD.
 

Yama

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Currency exchange ratio does matter, however as the actual payments are done over many years between 2022-25 or so, no singular dip is going to have a meaningful effect. Though, if this deal had been done in 2010-14, then US aircraft would have been hugely cheaper...

And it's not like Eurozone is doing so hot either. Actually I think Euro is probably more likely to collapse in near future.
 

John Fedup

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Currency exchange ratio does matter, however as the actual payments are done over many years between 2022-25 or so, no singular dip is going to have a meaningful effect. Though, if this deal had been done in 2010-14, then US aircraft would have been hugely cheaper...

And it's not like Eurozone is doing so hot either. Actually I think Euro is probably more likely to collapse in near future.
Again, I think it is really the possible ugly aftermath of the election. Instability isn’t kind to currency and the instability could last for several years in a worst case scenario.
 

OPSSG

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1. According to multiple local media reports quoting officials, South Korean military authorities plan to acquire an additional 40 F-35 Lightning II fighter jets, among which 20 F-35B will be acquired by the Republic of Korea Navy (ROK Navy).

2. The transfer of F-35B data and technology is seen as essential for designing the future 30,000-tons LPX-II vessel, which should be operational by 2033.

3. Prabowo’s declared interest in an advanced American fighter (aka F-35 interest) with regard to his US trip does not tell the whole story. “On Jakarta’s wish-list is a ‘roadmap’ to procuring the F-35 fighter jet, an Indonesian government official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity, adding officials were not optimistic.” In the US, Prabowo is scheduled to meet his US counterpart Mark Esper. It’s not just a matter of lobbying the Americans or others in the region.

4. A real road map for a F-35 purchase by Indonesia will take a fundamental rethink of the TNI posture and equipping (plus a move away from Russian and Chinese equipment), and this commitment must last beyond the Jokowi administration that is in its second term. The problem with news reports that are half right — is they lack the context of actual military-to-military cooperation requirements for interoperability by advanced tertiary air forces. The TNI AU is not even on track to be a tertiary air force; what is the point of talking about a F-35 purchase without the basics.

5. Indonesia will not be willing to do what is needed to get access to the F-35 program and it is not in Indonesian interests to be aligned that the level that Australia and Singapore are at, in relation to the US; where their troops were deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan in support of American operations and the level of basing support for American troops and naval port visits.

6. Why is there no joy in Indonesia to do something big, to have a road map towards a F-35 acquisition despite loose talk? The post below, explains.

7. While I don’t buy into the logic of Asian Power Index, it is a useful snapshot of the various dimensions of power. In particular, I don’t give too much credence to the high scores allocated to Singapore, where it is trending down in defence networks (−1.4), military capability (−0.8), economic relationships (−0.5) and economic capability (−0.3). In this measure of power, even just within ASEAN rankings, I think Indonesia is under-rated in its scores, while Singapore is over-rated and is ranked at:
(i) 8 of 26 for comprehensive power, with an overall score of 27.4 out of 100; and​
(ii) 5 of 26 for defence networks, with a score of 39.2 out of 100; and​
(iii) 10 of 26 for military capability, with a score of 24.4 out of 100.​
 
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John Fedup

The Bunker Group
This article describes some of the UK carrier technologies which found their way into USN carriers. The article also provides some history about the F-35B wrt to the RN decision to stick with the STOVL carrier. I struggled a bit as to which thread to place it in.
 

OPSSG

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1. Potential 50 F-35A sale to UAE at US$10.4 billion.

2. Map of F-35B operators and potential operators.

3. F-35B/C award from the DoD that includes "unique sea trials on aircraft carriers for non-DoD participants". There is some suspicion that these sea trials are for Japan, Korea or Singapore — with a firm order of 4 F-35Bs (and an option for 8 more, to be exercised later).

4. STOVL F-35B offers opportunity for operators to develop carriers, with Australia*, Japan, Singapore, Spain**, and South Korea all having expressed interest.

*Thus far, Australia has only ordered F-35As. On 23 April 2014, Australia confirmed the purchase of 58 F-35A Lightning II fighters in a US$11.5 billion deal. The 58 fighter order is the second tranche of the Air 6000 Phase 2A/2B new air combat capability.

** The Spanish Navy wants to replace its 12 Harrier jets, which are launched from the LPH Juan Carlos I. That ship’s short, ski-jump deck makes the F-35B the only option on the market, according to Cdr. Antonio Estevan, a staff officer at the service’s plans and policy division. At present, despite the interest, Spain does not have declared plans to place an order of F-35Bs.


  • 8 F-35 supply chain partners: Australia, Canada, Denmark, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, UK and the US
  • 6 F-35 Potential Purchasers: Canada*1 Finland, Greece, Spain, Romania, and UAE

  • 13 F-35 Operators *1 with orders placed: Israel, Japan, South Korea, Belgium, Poland and Singapore*2
*1 Canada has not formerly placed an order for its allotment of F-35As (and therefore excluded as an operator)

*2 F-35 Block 4 is also expected to include integration of country-specific weapons requested by foreign F-35 operators, including U.K.’s SPEAR and Meteor missile, Norway’s Kongsberg Joint-Strike Missile, which can strike land or sea targets
 
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Yama

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Again, I think it is really the possible ugly aftermath of the election. Instability isn’t kind to currency and the instability could last for several years in a worst case scenario.
I don't think such an instability would work to US entrants favour, however low the price would become. Stable foreign policy and secure product support is endangered without functional political system. Any way, I doubt US election would result into Belgium-like mess which would go on and on.
 

OPSSG

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1. More F-35I sales to Israel? Looks like the IAF have their procurement priorities sorted — this new 3rd squadron is going have customisations needed by Israel fitted from the start. "Without doubt, we need to expand the F-35 array. Right now we have two squadrons. I reckon we will expand that. That is what I requested of the Americans," Defence Minister Benny Gantz told Ynet TV.
(a) "I would buy another F-35 squadron and then examine what to do with the balance - continuing to expand the F-35 (procurement), going for F-15s?"​

(b) Gantz did not specify the number of F-35s in the proposed 3rd squadron. Defence officials have said the two squadrons already ordered by Israel consist of 50 planes. Gantz's coalition government with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fell apart last month, triggering a March 23 ballot. Both men remain in their posts until a new government is formed after the ballot.​

2. These F-35Is will have a plug-and-play feature added to the main computer to allow for the use of Israeli electronics in an add-on fashion, and to fit its own external jamming pod, including the installation of Israeli electronic warfare equipment produced by Elbit Systems.

3. The Koreans have started with their LPX-II Aircraft Carrier Program — which likely means F-35B sales in future.

4. Lockheed Martin had planned to deliver 141 aircraft to customers in 2020, but due to the pandemic, its final tally for 2020 was 123 aircraft instead. In 2020, 74 F-35s were delivered to the United States military, 31 to international partner nations and 18 to Foreign Military Sales customers. In a related news, Turkey will not be allowed access to the F-35 program, as rift between Turkey and the rest of the NATO alliance over the purchase of Russian S-400 air defense system turned into a chasm on 14 Dec 2020, with the announcement of sanctions slapped on Ankara’s military procurement agency and several top government officials by the Trump administration.
 
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ngatimozart

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OPSSG

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UAE Ambassador to Washington Yousef Al-Otaiba considers that the announcement made by US President Joe Biden's administration regarding halting arms sales to the Emirates and Saudi Arabia was to be expected. This came in a statement published by the UAE embassy in the US, on Wednesday, in which Al-Otaiba stated: "The UAE will work closely with the Biden administration on a comprehensive approach to peace and stability in the Middle East."

While Yousef al-Otaiba says he is confident the sale of F-35As to his country will proceed after a review by the Biden administration, I am confident he is wrong.

With Biden’s 4 Feb 2021 speech on his Foreign Policy ‘reset’, going forward, UAE seems to be caught on the naughty list and on the wrong side of the war in Yemen. As such, the State Department led by Antony Blinken is pausing the contentious sale of F-35As to UAE. Most notably, he announced an end to support for Saudi Arabia's military offensive in Yemen. Biden emphasises that the war has created the world's worst humanitarian catastrophe.

Likewise no joy for Turkey in relation to their F-35 plans.
 
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OPSSG

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European F-35 Updates

1. Denmark’s 1st of 27 F-35A is scheduled to be delivered to the Royal Danish Air Force in April 2021 and will be flown to Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, in 2021 for pilot and maintainer training. Recently, L-001, flew its inaugural flight at the factory, prior to delivery. In the period 2021 to 2026, Denmark will be phasing out the F-16. By 2023 the 1st Danish F-35A will land at Skrydstrup Air Base.

2. Denmark is the 5th European NATO nation to fly and operate an F-35, strengthening NATO’s 5th generation airpower foundation. Denmark is joining four other European nations who already operate the F-35 Lightning II: the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Norway and Italy.

3. Poland will be the 6th European NATO nation to fly and operate the F-35 in 2024. “The agreement foresees the delivery of 32 multi-role aircraft … along with a training and logistics package,” the Polish ministry said in a statement.
 
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OPSSG

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UAE’s F-35A sale approved by Biden’s team, and this will help keep production levels up and initial weapons acquisition costs low for this fighter type. The proposed deal included 50 F-35As (US$10.4 billion), up to 18 General Atomics MQ-9B UAVs (US$2.97 billion) and air-to-air and air-to-surface munitions (US$10 billion).

The US State Department spokesperson told HuffPost.

“The estimated delivery dates on these sales, if implemented, are scheduled for after 2025 or later. Thus, we anticipate a robust and sustained dialogue with the UAE to [ensure] any defense transfers meet our mutual strategic objectives to build a stronger, interoperable, and more capable security partnership,” the spokesperson wrote in an email.

“We will also continue to reinforce with the UAE and all recipients of U.S. defense articles and services that U.S.-origin defense equipment must be adequately secured and used in a manner that respects human rights and fully complies with the laws of armed conflict.”
 
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