Warplanes: March 5, 2002


The Dutch decision to participate in the development of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is not only tantamount to a decision to buy that aircraft, but a major and perhaps fatal blow to export efforts by Eurofighter for its Typhoon and the French for their Rafale. The Europeans had hoped to kick the US out of the European fighter market, recapturing the four nations (Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, Belgium) that bought the American F-16. The Dutch decision (and Norway's decision to reopen the competition that had been narrowed to the two European designs) indicates that this attempt will largely fail. The F-35 is a generation beyond Typhoon or Rafale and will cost less (since it will be built in larger numbers).--Stephen V Cole


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