Why does it come as a surprise to you that politicians (of any nationality) will use issues like the F-35 as a political weapon to create a wedge issue
to beat around the head of their opponents?
Especially when the issue involves as much money as the F-35 does, and national budgets are under pressure.
So you're comparing the F-35 (which has been in development for 10-15 years, depending on when you define it) to the Gripen that was in development for 15 years and has now been operational for 15 years, and the Eurofighter that was in development for 20 years and operational now for 10 years?
The realities of new technology aircraft design and manufacture is that it will be a difficult process. Integrating new technologies in new ways is always going to be fraught with problems and setbacks and cost over-runs. The Boeing 787 program was incredibly problematic and much delayed. But it is now entering commercial service.
Show me a fighter development program, and I'll show you a troubled development process.
The F-111 development program was horrific, but the APA fell in love anyway.
True and i will not deny the valid facts you stated.
But the thing is that because this is such a high risk and expensive project there is a lot to lose and a lot at stake here for the involved nations.
The amounts of money put in and the amounts of effort and dedication is unprecedented at this point.
That alone should make the JSF a success, One the other hand the stream of information amongst the partners seem to be inaccurate and wishful thinking at best.
On top of that you got the fears of previous miscalculations to happen again.
Also the initial specs have changed over time and then you got the delays and costs.
So for the JSF partners this whole project is HUGE and most went in deep and hard, failing would be a disaster. Thus you cannot blame them from being a hawk and watch their interests, specially if it turns out that the commitment by the US in terms of counter offers and economic benefits are not being made as they said they would.
For example the Netherlands went in for 800 Million euro, and later did have to add another 2x 800 euro to break even with the project and to catch unforeseen expenditures, next to that we did clear 300 million to keep our current fleet of F-16 flying and we cleared another 240 million for the 2 test birds.
And practical speaking we do not have a operational plane yet, what we got is a mighty empty spot in our pockets, 2 bare bone JSF to play around with and another letter from the pentagon saying that the average cost of the JSF and its program is going to be another 20% higher.
And forgive me for saying how on earth can you call that a good marketing and project structure? So in that regard the JSF is ANYTHING but a success and it seems that the biggest enemy to the JSF is the JSF program itself.
No wonder that the partners start to feel uneasy as we are not talking about a few pennies here.
And if you take the total amount invested by the Netherlands at this point and you would buy the Gripen or JSF then we could affort 150 or even 200 4th gen birds against the 85 planned JSF birds...
And thats the whole discussion here in the Netherlands.
Its not the money as we knew upfront that this is going to be prizy, but its the lack of information and a lot of denial while the actual reports are crystal clear and tell a different story.
Let me put it this way, Minister H.Hillen has been with the JSF since the very first day he is by far one of the biggest hardcore JSF guys you will find in the whole consortium (Some in the Netherlands say that he dumped his wife for a pocket size show model of the JSF to sleep next to
) and even he cannot justify the project as it is today.
And on top of that the economic benefits of this project (Counter offers and such) did not come.
Yes a few "Raam Contracts have been signed" total value 124 million Euro (Out of the 1.4 billion worth of orders promised) to date.
And thats a even bigger issue.