The Lockheed Martin F-35 will skip an appearance in June at the Paris air show, the joint programme office confirms.
With the event less than two months away, the JPO has not received an invitation to attend and is not aware of any F-35 participation in the show, a JPO spokesman tells FlightGlobal.
After an engine fire canceled its initial transatlantic tour in 2014, the Joint Strike Fighter made its international debut when the F-35B hovered over the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) and Farnborough air show last summer. The JPO was already corresponding with the UK in December 2015 in order to prepare for that appearance, the JPO spokesman says.
Unlike the UK, France is not planning on buying any variant of the F-35 from the US.
However, a Paris showing could would represent an opportunity for Lockheed to show its fifth-generation fighter to European customers. Lockheed already appears to have a leg up in Belgium’s fighter recapitalisation competition after Boeing pulled out last week, but Lockheed’s rival is still a contender for fighter recapitalisations in Finland and Switzerland.
Still, the Paris appearance may not represent a great loss for Lockheed or the US, which has held a tenuous relationship with France over the past two decades. No stealth aircraft has appeared on static display at the Paris air show since the F-117’s flight in 1991, which precipitated tense relations between the US and French defence sectors. In 1995, Northrop Grumman's stealthy B-2 bomber completed a fly-pass, landed and took off from the show.
In 2009, the US Air Force pulled a planned F-22 flight, citing availability of the aircraft.