Belgium considers Lockheed F-35 to replace F-16s

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hythelday

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Unread post30 Oct 2017, 13:07

bojack_horseman wrote:Fairly interesting article.

The French government still haven't given up and are kicking the lobbying efforts into another gear.

https://www.tijd.be/politiek-economie/b ... 1509358945


Soft paywall? Could you please quote more interesting parts if you have access?
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Unread post30 Oct 2017, 13:34

I could tell you how to get around soft paywalls, but I'd have to kill you. :mrgreen:

‘Het is duidelijk dat premier Michel invloed probeert uit te oefenen om het Franse Rafale-gevechtsvliegtuig mee in de running te krijgen voor de opvolging van de F-16’s’, luidt het in regeringskringen.

Het is niemand in de regering ontgaan dat premier Charles Michel (MR) zich mengt in het aankoopdossier voor 34 nieuwe gevechtsvliegtuigen voor 3,5 miljard euro.
‘Dat de geschiedenis zich herhaalt, verwondert me niet. Ik had alleen gedacht dat de Mouvement Réformateur (MR), nu ze de eerste minister levert, behoedzamer zou zijn in haar Fransdolle aspiraties. A new Agusta is born’, zo wordt in regeringskringen een allusie gemaakt op de corruptie-affaire rond de aankoop van Agusta-helicopters voor het leger.
'Ik had gedacht dat de MR nu ze de eerste minister levert, behoedzamer zou zijn in haar Fransdolle aspiraties. A new Agusta is born.'
REGERINGSBRON
En die manoeuvres gebeuren niet eens zo verdoken. Toen minister van Defensie Steven Vandeput (N-VA) in het parlement liet weten dat de deur voor de Fransen dicht was, reageerde vicepremier Didier Reynders (MR) de dag erop voor de televisiecamera’s dat de Fransen nog niet afgeschreven waren.
Op verzoek van Michel zijn inmiddels nieuwe juridische adviezen gevraagd om de Rafale van Dassault alsnog mee in de wedstrijd te brengen voor de opvolging van de F-16’s.
Offerte te laat

Vandeput kreeg nochtans het juridische advies dat de Fransen niet conform de regels hebben gehandeld. Terwijl de Amerikanen met de F-35 van Lockheed Martin en de Britten met de Eurofighter een offerte indienden conform de ‘Request for Government Proposal’ (RFGP), kwam Parijs op 7 september, luttele uren voor de deadline, met een brief waarin de Franse minister van Defensie Florence Parly een verregaand partnerschap aanbiedt.
‘Blijven onderhandelen met Frankrijk zou de Belgische staat blootstellen aan kritiek en rechtsvervolging.’
STEVEN VANDEPUT
MINISTER VAN DEFENSIE
Er wordt ook expliciet verwezen naar Sabca, het Belgische bedrijf waarin het Franse Dassault een meerderheidsbelang heeft. Maar Parijs geeft geen enkel antwoord op de 164 vragen uit de RFGP, noch wordt de prijs van de toestellen verduidelijkt. ‘Blijven onderhandelen met Frankrijk zou de Belgische staat blootstellen aan kritiek en rechtsvervolging’, besloot Vandeput.
Dat Vandeput de deur had dichtgedaan voor Parijs stond nog maar net online, of er liepen al telefoontjes binnen op het kabinet-Vandeput, van de Fransen, maar ook van de Britten - die met de Eurofighter mee in de running zijn - om tekst en uitleg te vragen.
De Belgische F-16's zijn tegen 2023 aan vervanging toe. © BELGA
De Belgische F-16's zijn tegen 2023 aan vervanging toe. © BELGA
Er wordt druk gelobbyd, maar Vandeput houdt zich daar zo ver mogelijk van. Hij weet hoe delicaat alles ligt. Toen Boeing zich met zijn F-18 uit de race terugtrok, omdat de Belgische aanbesteding op maat van de F-35 van Lockheed Martin zou zijn geschreven, liet een ongeruste Michel dat onderzoeken. Er werd niets gevonden.
Bij de N-VA luidt het dat er geen voorkeur is voor gelijk wie, en dat men al evenmin iets tegen de Fransen heeft.
In het kernkabinet bekijkt vicepremier Jan Jambon (N-VA) ‘welwillend’ alle voorstellen van Michel om alsnog business te kunnen doen met de Fransen. Daarom ging hij ook akkoord om nieuwe juridische adviezen te vragen. Maar die welwillendheid gaat maar tot het punt waarop Vandeput in verlegenheid wordt gebracht. ‘We gaan niet moeilijk doen, tenzij we zelf in moeilijkheden komen. Dan houdt het op’, luidt het.
Ongemakkelijk schuifelen

Voor de premier is het ongemakkelijk schuifelen op zijn stoel. ‘Kan u het zich voorstellen, Charles Michel die aan de tafel van de Europese Raad zit, zijn grote vriend Emmanuel Macron in de ogen kijkt en zegt: ‘Nee, bedankt voor uw voorstel voor een pro-Europees partnerschap, maar ik verkies het puur commerciële voorstel van de Amerikanen.’
KORT

De Fransen lobbyen hevig om hun Rafale-gevechtsvliegtuig toch nog in de running te krijgen voor de vervanging van de F-16’s.
Vooral de MR van premier Charles Michel is gevoelig voor de Franse argumenten.
Elders in de regering wordt opgemerkt dat ons land grote juridische risico’s loopt als het Franse bod toch nog wordt opgevist, terwijl het niet aan de voorwaarden voldoet.
De kans bestaat dat de beslissing over de aankoop van nieuwe legervliegtuigen wordt doorgeschoven naar de volgende regering.
‘Ik begrijp de malaise in de regering’, merkte gewezen minister van Defensie André Flahaut (PS) al op.
De entourage van Michel ontkent dat er al contacten zijn geweest met de Franse president, maar het is duidelijk dat de premier verveeld zit met heel de zaak.
En de Franse lobbymachine draait op volle toeren. De Franse ambassadeur loopt eens langs, Sabca komt toelichting geven en zelfs de christelijke vakbond ACV liet recentelijk in een brief aan de regering weten dat Frankrijk een investering van 20 miljard euro en 1.500 Belgische banen belooft, als ons land kiest voor de Rafale van Dassault.
De klok tikt

Een optie is dat de Fransen alsnog de Rafale zouden voorstellen, als op 14 februari het ‘best and final offer’ moet worden ingediend. Dat mag juridisch nog mogelijk zijn, feitelijk is het een onhaalbare kaart, wordt in militaire kringen gezegd. Met de Britten en de Amerikanen lopen gesprekken om de voorstellen voor de Eurofighter en de F-35 correct te kunnen evalueren.
Minister van Defensie Steven Vandeput (N-VA) kijkt er al lang niet meer van op dat premier Charles Michel via zijn militair adviseur mee aan de knoppen draait. © BELGA
Minister van Defensie Steven Vandeput (N-VA) kijkt er al lang niet meer van op dat premier Charles Michel via zijn militair adviseur mee aan de knoppen draait. © BELGA
Maar na het indienen van het ‘best and final offer’ mag niet meer met elkaar worden gesproken. Het wordt dan ook zo goed als onmogelijk om een Franse offerte nog te beoordelen, luidt het.
Een andere piste is dat de Fransen gepaaid worden met een ander legercontract. ‘Voor de landmacht is voorzien in een capacité motorisée. Het gaat om een contract van 1,1 miljard euro, dat voor de Fransen is’, wordt opgemerkt in regeringskringen. Het Strategisch Legerplan van Vandeput mikt op een verregaande samenwerking tussen de Belgische en de Franse landcomponenten. Maar of dat contract, dat ze eigenlijk al op zak hebben, Parijs zal kunnen paaien, is nog maar de vraag. ‘Mijn grootmoeder zei altijd: de Duvelszak is nooit gevuld’, klinkt het in regeringskringen.
Omdat er geen voor de hand liggende uitweg is, bestaat de kans dat de aankoop van de nieuwe gevechtsvliegtuigen naar de Griekse kalenden wordt verwezen. De beslissing om gevechtsvliegtuigen aan te kopen was al niet evident.
Open VLD-voorzitster Gwendolyn Rutten lag lang dwars, omdat ze het politiek niet dacht te kunnen verkopen dat meer dan 9 miljard euro wordt gespendeerd aan gevechtsvliegtuigen en ander legermateriaal, terwijl Maggie De Block (Open VLD) moest besparen op de langdurige zieken, wier aantal een hoge vlucht neemt.
Zonder rugdekking

De premier nam het toen ook over van Vandeput en kocht tijd voor diens omstreden Strategisch Legerplan. Uiteindelijk werd er enkel ‘akte van genomen’, waardoor Vandeput zonder politieke rugdekking bezig is aan de uitvoering van zijn Strategisch Plan.
3,5 miljard
De opvolger van de F-16 mag 3,5 miljard euro kosten.
De premier slaagde er wel in om het fiat te krijgen voor legerinvesteringen voor meer dan 9 miljard euro, waaronder de aankoop van 34 nieuwe gevechtsvliegtuigen voor 3,5 miljard euro.
Vandeput kijkt er al lang niet meer van op dat Michel, via zijn militair adviseur, reservemajoor Michel Peeters, mee over de schouder kijkt en mee aan de knoppen draait. Maar de aankoop van gevechtsvliegtuigen uitstellen tot na de parlementsverkiezingen van 2019 is een risico.
Metaalmoe

Vanaf 2023 moeten de F-16’s worden vervangen, want na 40 jaar dienst kunnen de ‘metaalmoeë’ toestellen niet meer worden geüpdatet. Vandaar dat de planning stelt dat het contract in 2018 moet worden gegund, zodat de eerste toestellen in 2023 kunnen worden geleverd.
Maar wie zal er moeilijk over doen als geen akkoord kan worden bereikt en de beslissing wordt uitgesteld? Als het over legeraankopen gaat, hebben de socialisten vanuit de oppositie weinig recht van spreken, merkt een regeringsbron op. ‘Ze hebben het geld geïncasseerd voor de partij en hebben het vervolgens verbrand in hun tuin’, wordt cynisch verwezen naar de Agusta-affaire van begin jaren 90.
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Unread post30 Oct 2017, 16:53

optimist wrote:I could tell you how to get around soft paywalls, but I'd have to kill you. :mrgreen:


Not if I shoot you first for showing how to run a text through google translate! :twisted:

Anyway, article sounds like defence minister Vandeput does not want to allow Dassault participation on a basis of them being late with proposal, and also proposal itself being "shady", arguing bending the rules for the French might cause a legal stir-up; Meanwhile, PM Michel, who I gather is a Walloon and a "great friend [of] Emmanuel Macron" pushes for French participation.

Also, @optimist, how well was this excerpt translated?

The French ambassador goes further along, Sabca comes explanatory notes and even the Christian union ACV was recently in a letter to the Government that France promises an investment of 20 billion euros and 1,500 Belgian jobs, when our country chooses the Rafale from Dassault.


Is Dassault seriously promising 20 billion in offset Rafale deals, or is it some general "we'll invest 20 bn into Belgian industry at some point"? LM surely can't beat that, however they can show real deal contracts for global F-35 supply chain. A bird in hand is better than two in bush 8)
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Unread post30 Oct 2017, 21:16

don't tell anyone, but you put the heading and some words of the article into google and when it finds the article you are looking for, you open it..Try it now, this circumvents a lot of paywalls..but they are catching on and starting to close that door.

I tried to google trans, but the door I went through wouldn't let it do so. so I just copied and posted original text. I had no idea what it said and translated it here.

also all the other french promises of offset, tech transfer and such have always come out well :mrgreen:
Last edited by optimist on 30 Oct 2017, 21:50, edited 1 time in total.
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bojack_horseman

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Unread post30 Oct 2017, 21:48

hythelday wrote:Soft paywall? Could you please quote more interesting parts if you have access?


Apologies, I'm not seeing any paywall myself. (via google on a PC)

The fellow "Michel" is the Prime Minister of Belgium Charles Michel....

Belgian maneuvers in the dark with fighter planes

"It is clear that Prime Minister Michel is trying to exert influence to get the French Rafale fighter plane in the run for the F-16's succession," it says in government circles.

Nobody in the government escaped that Prime Minister Charles Michel merged into the purchase file for 34 new fighter aircraft for 3.5 billion euros.
"That history repeats me does not surprise me. I had only thought that the Mouvement Reformator Party (MR), now that she will deliver the prime minister, would be more cautious in her French-language aspirations. A new Agusta is born ', so in government circles, an allusion is made to the corruption affair surrounding the purchase of Agusta helicopters for the army.

And those maneuvers do not even happen so much. When Defense Minister Steven Vandeput (N-VA) in parliament said that the door was closed for the French , responded Deputy Prime Minister Didier Reynders (MR) the day after the television cameras that the French were not depreciated.
At the request of Michel are now new legal opinions requested the Rafale from Dassault bring still in the competition for the successor to the F-16s.

Vandeput, however, obtained the legal advice that the French did not act in accordance with the rules. While the Americans with the F-35 from Lockheed Martin and the British with the Eurofighter an offer submitted in accordance with the 'Request for Government Proposal (RFGP), Paris came on September 7, just hours before the deadline, with a letter in which the French Minister of Defense Florence Parly offers a far-reaching partnership.

It is also explicitly referred to Sabca , the Belgian company in which the French Dassault has a majority interest. But Paris does not answer the 164 questions from the RFGP, nor will the price of the devices be clarified. 'Continue negotiating with France would expose the Belgian state to criticism and prosecution', Vandeput decided.
The fact that Vandeput closed the door for Paris was just online, or there were already calls on the Vandeput, the French, but also the British - who are in the running with Eurofighter - for text and explanation to ask.

It is busy lobbying , but Vandeput adheres as far as possible. He knows how delicious everything is. When Boeing abandoned from this race with the F-18, because the Belgian tendering was tailored to Lockheed Martin's F-35, an inexperienced Michel was investigating that. Nothing found.

At the N-VA it is said that there is no preference for equal who, and that they do not have anything against the French.
The inner cabinet looks Deputy Prime Minister Jan Jambon (N-VA) 'benevolent' all proposals Michel to do so business with the French. Therefore he agreed to ask for new legal advice. But that benevolence goes to the point where Vandeput is embarrased . "We will not do it hard unless we get into trouble ourselves. Then it will hold on, "it says.

For the Prime Minister is uncomfortable shuffling in his seat. "Can you imagine Charles Michel, who is at the European Council, looks at his great friend Emmanuel Macron, saying," No, thanks for your proposal for a pro-European partnership, but I prefer it commercial proposal from the Americans. "

"I understand the malaise in government," said former minister of defense, André Flahaut (PS).
The entourage of Michel denies that there were contacts with the French president, but it is clear that the Prime Minister is bored with the whole thing.
And the French lobby machine running at full speed. The French ambassador walks along, Sabca explains, and even the Christian trade union ACV recently announced in a letter to the government that France promises an investment of 20 billion euros and 1,500 Belgian jobs, if our country chooses for the Rafale of Dassault.
The clock is ticking
One option is that the French would still introduce the Rafale , if on February 14 the "best and final offer" should be submitted. That may be legally possible, in fact, it's an unreadable card, it is said in military circles. With the British and Americans, discussions are taking place to properly evaluate the proposals for the Eurofighter and the F-35.


However, after submitting the best and final offer no longer can be spoken. It is therefore almost impossible to review a French offer, it says.
Another run is that the French rocked with another army contract . 'For the country's power a capacité motorisée is provided. It is a contract of EUR 1.1 billion , which is for the French, "is noted in government circles. Vandeput's Strategic Army Plan aims at far-reaching cooperation between Belgian and French land components. But whether that contract, which they are actually already on the verge of sprouting Paris, is still the question. "My grandmother always said: The Duvelszak is never filled," it sounds like in government circles.

The prime minister succeeded in getting rid of military investments for more than 9 billion euros , including the purchase of 34 new fighter aircraft for 3.5 billion euros.
Vandeput has long been aware that Michel, through his military adviser, reservoir leader Michel Peeters, looks over his shoulder and walks on the knobs. But postponing the purchase of fighter aircraft until after the parliamentary elections of 2019 is a risk.

As of 2023, the F-16's have to be replaced, because after 40 years of service , the 'metal power' devices can no longer be updated. Hence the plan states that the contract should be awarded in 2018 so that the first devices can be delivered in 2023.
But who will make it difficult if no agreement can be reached and the decision is postponed? When it comes to army purchases, the Socialists have little right to speak from the opposition, notes a government source. "They have collected the money for the party and then burned in their garden," cynically referred to the Agusta affair of the early 90's.
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Unread post30 Oct 2017, 21:51

hythelday wrote:Is Dassault seriously promising 20 billion in offset Rafale deals, or is it some general "we'll invest 20 bn into Belgian industry at some point"? LM surely can't beat that, however they can show real deal contracts for global F-35 supply chain. A bird in hand is better than two in bush 8)


That's what stuck out for me.

The purchasing budget is €3.5bn
The French have some 'cojones' if they offer 600% offsets.... and the Belgians would be insane to believe them!
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Unread post17 Jan 2018, 19:46

Well, as predicted the Belgian government aren't believing Dassault's fantastical offset figures

I think Lockheed should be very confident of success here.

The Belgian AF & Dutch AF have now merged their QRF roles, so it makes no sense for them to opt for the Eurofighter.


https://www.airrecognition.com/index.ph ... oomed.html


ACCaP Program: French offer appears increasingly doomed

France's proposal to offer the Rafale fighter jet to Belgium appears increasingly doomed following new comments from the latter's defence minister, Steven Vandeput. As France didn't correctly answered the RfGP, Dassault's "announcements concerning the economic side can not be taken in account," Vandeput said today to the Belgian Parliament National Defense Commitee.

Without being allowed to push on economic side of their proposal, Paris will undoubtely face difficulties to affect the Belgian final choice. In late December 2017, Belgian medias suggested, based on Dassault documents, that the french planemaker is promising around 20 bn of economic compensation over 20 years, and more than 5,000 high-technology jobs. An information that Vandeput said "to be too good to be true", finding that Dassault was doing an "economic blackmail".

Moreover, Vandeput rightly points out that the French team "chose to communicate by press instead of introducing a proposal into the procedure we launched". He also confirmed that "the government position didn't change since my answer to the (National Defense) committee in December 20, 2017", when Vandeput declared that he "personally had neither formal nor informal contact about it (the French proposal)" with its French counterpart.

On February 14, Belgium will officially select the best and final offer. It will then be evaluated by no less than 33 experts, splitted in seven different teams.

Strongly criticized by the Belgian MoD, Steven Vandeput (N-VA), the French proposal is currently being screened by the Belgian government, in order to avoid any legal process from the two other contenders, Lockheed Martin and BAE Systems. Needless to say, Belgium will do everything to avoid a new “Agusta–Dassault Scandal”, after which Brussels in the 1990s thoroughly revised its arms procurement process.

Belgium approved in December 2016 the purchase of 34 new fighter aircraft to be acquired from Spring 2018 for an amount of 3,573 billion euros ($4.2 bn). Two contenders are officially competing: Lockheed Martin with its F-35A JSF, and BAE Systems with the Eurofighter Typhoon
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Unread post17 Jan 2018, 20:03

bojack_horseman wrote:The Belgian AF & Dutch AF have now merged their QRF roles, so it makes no sense for them to opt for the Eurofighter.

Well even if they had not merged their roles it would make no sense for them to opt for the Typhoon.

It is horribly expensive both to purchase but also to operate and upgrade (much more expensive than the F-35), it does not meet some key requirements (including SEAD/DEAD), and it cannot drop nukes.

I am sure I forgot something, but the above should do...

Of course they will go for F-35 -- the only thing that can throw a spanner in the works are the French...
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Unread post19 Jan 2018, 22:48

FMS Details released ($6.53 Billion for 34 jets)

http://www.dsca.mil/major-arms-sales/be ... r-aircraft

Media/Public Contact:
pm-cpa@state.gov
Transmittal No:
17-80
WASHINGTON, JAN. 18, 2018 - The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to Belgium of thirty-four (34) F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Conventional Take Off and Landing aircraft for an estimated cost of $6.53 billion. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale today.

The Government of Belgium has requested to buy thirty-four (34) F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Conventional Take Off and Landing (CTOL) aircraft, and thirty-eight (38) Pratt & Whitney F-135 engines (34 installed, 4 spares). Also included are Electronic Warfare Systems; Command, Control, Communications, Computer and Intelligence/Communications, Navigational, and Identification (C4I/CNI); Autonomic Logistics Global Support System (ALGS); Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS); Full Mission Trainer; Weapons Employment Capability, and other Subsystems, Features, and Capabilities; F-35 unique infrared flares; Reprogramming center; F-35 Performance Based Logistics; software development/integration; aircraft ferry and tanker support; support equipment; tools and test equipment; communications equipment; spares and repair parts; personnel training and training equipment; publications and technical documents; U.S. Government and contractor engineering and logistics personnel services; and other related elements of logistics and program support. The estimated total case value is $6.53 billion.

This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of an ally and partner nation which has been, and continues to be, an important force for political and economic stability in Western Europe.

This proposed sale of F-35s will provide Belgium with a credible defense capability to deter aggression in the region and ensure interoperability with U.S. forces. The proposed sale will augment Belgium's operational aircraft inventory and enhance its air-to-air and air-to-ground self-defense capability. Belgium will have no difficulty absorbing these aircraft into its armed forces.

The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.

The prime contractors will be Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company, Fort Worth, TX; and Pratt & Whitney Military Engines, East Hartford, CT. This proposal is being offered in the context of a competition. If the proposal is accepted, it is expected that offset agreements will be required. All offsets are defined in negotiations between the Purchaser and the contractor.

Implementation of this proposed sale will require multiple trips to Belgium involving U.S. Government and contractor representatives for technical reviews/support, program management, and training over the life of the program. U.S. contractor representatives will be required in Belgium to conduct Contractor Engineering Technical Services (CETS) and Autonomic Logistics and Global Support (ALGS) for after-aircraft delivery.

There will be no adverse impact on U.S. defense readiness as a result of this proposed sale.

This notice of a potential sale is required by law and does not mean the sale has been concluded.

All questions regarding this proposed Foreign Military Sale should be directed to the State Department's Bureau of Political Military Affairs, Office of Congressional and Public Affairs, pm-cpa@state.gov.
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Unread post20 Jan 2018, 00:01

SpudmanWP wrote:...WASHINGTON, JAN. 18, 2018 - The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to Belgium of thirty-four (34) F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Conventional Take Off and Landing aircraft for an estimated cost of $6.53 billion. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale today.....


Great!, another two+ NATO squadrons!

NATO + Israel; 530ish F-35s order potential in EurAsia!
:)
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Unread post20 Jan 2018, 01:32

neptune wrote:
SpudmanWP wrote:...WASHINGTON, JAN. 18, 2018 - The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to Belgium of thirty-four (34) F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Conventional Take Off and Landing aircraft for an estimated cost of $6.53 billion. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale today.....


Great!, another two+ NATO squadrons!

NATO + Israel; 530ish F-35s order potential in EurAsia!
:)


It is a possible sale, it is not a real sale at this point. All it means is that the US Government has approved the sale if the government of Belgium decides it wants to buy the F-35. They would have done the same thing for the F-18 if it was still in the competition. For that matter, they would have done the same thing for the Gripen if Saab had decided to enter the competition as well. Don't want to count your Lightnings before they are sold.
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Unread post20 Jan 2018, 02:30

How much of that would be FMS fees?
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Unread post20 Jan 2018, 03:56

playloud wrote:How much of that would be FMS fees?

No clue as the details are not included. What is known is that it includes Block 4.x jets, FMS simulator(s), a reprogramming center (to update MDFs), support, etc.
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Unread post20 Jan 2018, 06:06

fms fees went up, I think they were around 3% and are around 5% now. Edit, curiosity got me, well that was a bad guess it seems they went up to 3.8% and were reduced to 3.5% in 2012. I haven't googled anything higher.
I assume it's the same with the f-35, also I think the partners get a kickback on sales. Or is it just with the stuff they individually fund?
Last edited by optimist on 20 Jan 2018, 06:15, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread post20 Jan 2018, 06:07

usnvo wrote:
neptune wrote:..WASHINGTON, JAN. 18, 2018 - The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to Belgium of thirty-four (34) F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Conventional Take Off and Landing aircraft for an estimated cost of $6.53 billion. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale today.....

Great!, another two+ NATO squadrons!

NATO + Israel; 530ish F-35s order potential in EurAsia!
:)


It is a possible sale, it is not a real sale at this point. All it means is that the US Government has approved the sale if the government of Belgium decides it wants to buy the F-35. They would have done the same thing for the F-18 if it was still in the competition. For that matter, they would have done the same thing for the Gripen if Saab had decided to enter the competition as well. Don't want to count your Lightnings before they are sold.


....of the 29 NATO members and the 13 most prosperous, only Poland (former Warsaw Pact member) has "YET" to decide if they are considering the F-35; aside from the possible 5Gen joint development of France and Germany.

....and then there is Canada, riding along on the back of the US taxpayers. Perhaps "the Donald" reviewing NAFTA will motivate them financially to add a little more NATO investment over their 2016 1.0%, with an order for the F-35....or not!
:)
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