Bush, Blair Resolve Dispute over Joint Strike Fighter

May 28th, 2006  

Topic: Bush, Blair Resolve Dispute over Joint Strike Fighter

The United States and Britain announced agreement May 26 to end a long-running dispute over technology that had threatened plans to cooperate in developing a new-generation Joint Strike Fighter aircraft.
A statement by President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair on the final day of their two-day summit appeared to put to rest a row over British access to codes used in U.S. avionics systems aboard the F-35 fighters.
Britain, angered by U.S. reluctance to share the codes, had been preparing to pull out of the project and the planned purchase of 150 aircraft at $104 million apiece.
Bush and Blair said they agreed that Britain “will have the ability to successfully operate, upgrade, employ, and maintain the Joint Strike Fighter such that the UK retains operational sovereignty over the aircraft.”
U.S. officials said the move would allow the British to make their own adaptations to the JSF without having to call in U.S. technicians.
”Both governments agree to protect sensitive technologies found within the Joint Strike Fighter program,” Bush and Blair wrote. “Together, we are working out the details, while remaining committed to these principles.”
The statement did not mention another dispute over the U.S. cost-cutting move to cancel a $2.4 billion contract for the British firm Rolls-Royce and the U.S. giant General Electric to develop a backup engine.
The JSF has been billed as the United States’ biggest fighter program. The Pentagon has planned to buy 2,400 of the stealthy multi-role fighters and international sales could account for another 2,000 to 3,500 aircraft.

May 28th, 2006  
Well that's good news.