What do Brazilians and Spaniards really think about the F-35?

With the full-text of only 478 out of about 250,000 US diplomatic cables released into the public domain so far, I have found two new references about the Lockheed Martin F-35.

1. A cable on 31 March 2008 says the US Air Force briefed a Brazilian delegation led by Minister of Defense Nelson Jobim on the F-35. The delegation was “impressed” by the F-35′s capabilities and cooperative production strategy. But Jobin noted concerns about cost, industrial participation and integrating Brazilian technology — possibly the Mectron MAA-1 Piranha missile. The cable’s author also wrote: “If there would be a possiblity for integration of Brazilian made hardware or weapons, the F-35 would be a leading candidate for Brazil’s next-generation fighter”. The F-35 was never formally proposed for F-X2, and Brazil rejected Lockheed Martin’s bid based on the F-16. For nearly two years, Brazil has been considering three finalists — Dassault Rafale, Saab Gripen and Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. But US diplomats are not optimistic about the Super Hornet’s chances. Another cable, dated 13 November 2009, concludes that Brazil “will most likely favor the French or Swedish offers”.

2. “While we continue to push Spain to buy into the Joint Strike Fighter program, we know that Spain is very anxious to learn whether Spanish company EADS-CASA will get the Joint Cargo Aircraft contract,” says a cable posted on 14 May 2007. Three years later, we know the L-3 Communications/Alenia team won the JCA contract, and Spain has not bought into the F-35 program, although it is expected to buy the short take-off and vertical landing F-35B eventually. The cable reveals that Spanish diplomats may have linked the JCA award to joining the F-35 program. Madrid “would appreciate a ‘gesture’ from the US so that it can show domestic audiences that Spain gets something out of the relationship”, the cable continues. “We try to remind [the Ministry of Defence] that while there may be a dollar imbalance in the defense relationship, Spain benefits from the relationship in other ways.”

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4 Responses to What do Brazilians and Spaniards really think about the F-35?

  1. John S. 1 December, 2010 at 10:41 pm #

    “Three years later, we know the L-3 Communications/Alenia team won the JCA contract, and Spain has not bought into the F-35 program, although it is expected to buy the short take-off and vertical landing F-35B eventually.”
    And the US subsequently lowered the C-27J buy from 78 aircraft to 38.

  2. puppethead 2 December, 2010 at 6:56 am #

    The Spanish are kidding themselves… as if the USA cares about genuine reciprocity. If it’s not Made-In-America (or a least Lead-Contracted-In-America – A-10 wings spring to mind) every politician with a manufacturing plant in their constituency will claim the end of the world, but they expect to be able to compete in everyone else’s contests. When free trade agreements work both ways, maybe I’ll listen.

  3. Ed Hamborsky 2 December, 2010 at 4:12 pm #

    really nice post, i read it all its good informative knowledge

  4. aeroxavier 2 December, 2010 at 4:37 pm #

    in one period USA will find new buyer, now they will save their firsts buyers

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