Two years ago, Lockheed Martin’s F-35 was set to make its first Atlantic crossing ahead of a high-profile Farnborough air show debut. The manufacturer seemed poised to dominate the fighter market afresh, following a more than 40-year success story with the F-16. In Europe, Dassault had yet to secure a first international customer for its Rafale, the Eurofighter consortium had not won an export deal since a modest 12-unit order secured from Oman in late 2012, and Saab had suffered a recent setback, with a public referendum in Switzerland shooting down a proposed 22-aircraft procurement of its Gripen NG.
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