LONDON --- Britain wants to maintain a leadership position in fighter jet technology and will not take a subsidiary role to France and Germany as they move ahead on developing a next-generation warplane, the country’s air chief said on Wednesday.
Britain is considering its future air combat strategy, and the government said in February it will provide a further update on it at some point this summer.
“We have world leading capabilities. We are going to define what we want to do in the future,” Air Chief Marshal Stephen Hillier, chief of staff of the Royal Air Force, told reporters.
Hillier noted Britain had played a key role in development of the Eurofighter Typhoon and Lockheed Martin Corp’s F-35. “What we’re not going to do is follow where other nations go,” he said after a conference of global air chiefs. “I don’t feel that the UK’s role in this is to chase after France and Germany.” (end of excerpt)
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(EDITOR’S NOTE: Given that the UK has a funding shortfall of about £20 billion to pay for the programs it has already launched, it is hard to imagine how it could find the several billion pounds it needs to develop a new-generation combat aircraft.
Furthermore, its involvement in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program as a subcontractor to Lockheed Martin raises questions about its commitment to European aerospace, especially after Brexit.
It is by no means clear that BAE Systems would have next-generation technology that Airbus DS and Dassault don’t, and so it is not clear what the UK could contribute in exchange of the “leading role” the RAF chief of staff wants it to play.)