Britain signed an agreement Tuesday committing to the next development and production phase of the new Joint Strike Fighter, resolving a dispute between the Pentagon and its biggest overseas partner over sharing technology for the advanced fighter jet.
MO has covered some of the stormy US-UK JSF relationship before. One year ago today, for instance, I had a bit of a summary of the situation: Britain, America, and the F-35 JSF. Before we get too excited about this cross-Atlantic reconciliation, however, let’s not forget that the technology transfer dispute was said to be resolved last May, too. Britain has yet to fully commit to actually purchase any of the aircraft, so expect further disputes at some point.
Another sticking point for the F-35 has been the on-again/off-again/on-again F136 engine program. The F136 is a more-powerful alternative F-35 engine built by General Electric and Rolls Royce. The F136 recently completed its three-month preliminary design review.
Meanwhile, the first F-35 has completed all ground and taxi tests. The innaugural flight is imminent.
Last but certainly not least, Defense Industry Daily has three posts up on the JSF:
- F-35 Joint Strike Fighter: SDD Contracts & Events FY 2006
- Britain Formally Signs F-35 Production Phase MoU
- Canada Signs F-35 Production Phase MoU
Be sure to check them out.