At the tail end of last Friday’s Linkzookery, I noted a Defense Industry Daily article about how legal issues surrounding the secret stuff in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter might be threatening the UK’s participation in the program.
Joe Katzman, the editor of DID, has a lengthy, in-depth post up at Winds of Change on this subject, and Murdoc’s got to admit that things don’t look good.
Check it out at Britain’s F-35 Pullout Threat, And The Future of the Anglosphere
It’s one thing to decide that a program doesn’t fit military needs, and pull out or reduce orders. It’s another thing for your closest ally to more or less decide that they can’t work with you on major defense development projects. Which is exactly what a JSF program pullout would represent.
Though the issue of super-secret military technology transfer, namely the source code of the F-35’s software, is at the heart of the matter, there’s a lot more to this than losing a customer to the Eurofighter. But where the weight of the problem weighs is unclear.
If Britain goes, a bunch of bad things are going to happen – and the damage will go all the way to the foundations of the US – British alliance. Most Americans aren’t even aware that this issue exists, let alone how serious it has become. It’s time to pay attention.
Real allies, who stand with you when the going gets tough, are special. The kind of people – and countries – worth being a friend like that FOR will go out out of their way for their real friends. Sometimes a long way out their way. The USA, and the Republicans in Congress who believe wholeheartedly in its larger mission, need to step back and focus on what’s really important…These are your best friends we’re talking about, Congressmen. Act like it.
I don’t believe that anyone questions where Britain stands, and that is ‘squarely with us’. But an apparent disregard for those who have stuck their necks out with/for us isn’t anything new, of course. Recall the denial of Polish requests for additional armored Humvees.
But there are two sides to every story, and another angle on the Polish armored Humvee story that alternative take was pointed out here on MO the next day. An alternative take on the F-35 story is voiced by the first commenter on the Winds post:
It sounds like Britain hasn’t decided whether it wishes to be a European or Anglospheric power.
Murdoc freely and readily admits that this is a bit over his head, especially the legal aspect. While I’d like to afford my closest and stoutest ally every favor and waiver requested, we don’t want to learn ten years from now that due to a leak leading to a leak leading to a leak among friends, someone on the other side of the fence just quadrupled their ability to shoot down our front line strike aircraft. Or that a potential adversary jumped ahead five years in their development of advanced aircraft because someone hid a thumb drive in the bottom of a stainless steel coffee cup somewhere.
Of course, those same risks apply even if we don’t tell ANYONE anything. Spies and bad guys abound, even in the good old US of A. We don’t need to share secrets with allies for those secrets to be stolen.
I guess, if I’ve got to choose sides, I’m on the side of giving your biggest strongest baddest toughest closest tightest ally the benefit of the doubt. If you are at all interested in this deal or the ramifications of this problem, do yourself a favor and take the time to read Joe’s post. Plus the comments section.
Finally, check out the Manufacturing Gallery at JSF.mil. Here are a couple shots: