ITAR Fallout: Britain to Pull Out of F-35 JSF Program?

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“UK Warns USA Over ITAR Arms Restrictions” covered the ITAR technology waiver crisis in British-American defense relations, and noted that serious trouble was brewing. We also pointed to a series of pointed questions from the House of Commons Defence Committee to Lord Drayson about the CVF carrier program and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF). Now senior UK Ministry of Defence officials have confirmed to The Sunday Times of London that Britain is considering its options and contemplating a pullout from the multinational, multi-billion dollar JSF program. According to these officials, instructions have been given for alternative strategies for projects affected by American technology-transfer problems – and JSF was included in that list. It was time, one said, to “think the unthinkable.” Technology Transfer and the JSF Burning the bridge?(click to view full) As the only other “Tier One” partner, Britain is the most significant U.S. partner in the 10-nation program, and has invested approximately $2 billion in the F-35B’s development as its future carrier aircraft. ITAR has already played a role in the JSF, as this August 2004 National Defense Magazine article noted: “With JSF, “we had a difficult start to exchanging the necessary data and technical information on […]

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