I'll Scratch Your (F-35) Back If You'll Scratch Mine (JSM)

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For all the arguing about the Joint Strike Fighter that we've done here on Ares, some of the factors and decisions simply come down to economics. Robert Wall has a story in this week's Aviation Week & Space Technology about the Norway F-35 decision and how the Joint Strike Missile plays into that.

For all the talk about fifth-generation-this and stealth-that, for most countries signing up to become F-35 partners there is a more basic calculation at play: The industrial return warrants the financial outlays.

Norway has now taken a big step toward potentially making the bargain work. After prolonged lobbying and badgering, Oslo secured a firm U.S. commitment to have Kongsberg's Joint Strike Missile (JSM) integrated early on the F-35.

Idle thought: is this commitment more firm than the one the U.S. made to MEADS?

And, just to stir the pot a little, what Robert wrote about the latest GAO report:

Positive developments are overshadowed by the release on June 14 of the latest in a series of stinging Government Accountability Office reports on the program.

The report characterized progress made in the F-35 program as mixed. For instance, last year only 6 of 11 important objectives were achieved and the GAO raised concerns about software development. “Until a fully integrated, capable aircraft is flight tested—planned to start in 2015—the program is still very susceptible to discovering costly design and technical problems after many aircraft have been fielded.”

Any new thoughts on the JSF? (And keep it civil ;-)

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