Interested in Many Countries, Lockheed Martin Company F-35 Fighter Selling well in the European Market
Lockheed Martin’s US-made F-35 fighter aircraft do not need to compete hard to win the hearts of the world. Known as the most sophisticated and capable fighter aircraft, the United States F-35 has succeeded in attracting many countries.
A news from Malaysian Media mentions about the F-35 dominating the market in Europe. This is certainly a competition for fighter aircraft companies on the continent. For a period of four years, European fighter aircraft companies such as Dassault Aviation (Rafale), BAE Systems, Leonardo, Airbus (Eurofighter Typhoon) and Saab Group (Gripen) have only become spectators of the greatness of the F-35.
Especially after the F-35 ‘wrapped’ the fighter aircraft market in Europe. Some high-ranking European manufacturing companies then expressed their disappointment because of this condition. Even political leaders in France have asked fellow European countries to buy European goods. This effort seems to be a picture of desperation to calm the madness of neighboring countries who are crowded to buy the F-35.
Quoted from Defense Security Asia, the dominance of the US-made F-35 in Europe has forced the continental fighter aircraft manufacturer to rely on markets outside Europe. Markets outside Europe including in the Middle East and Asia are expected to generate sales in order to survive. European fighter manufacturers’ frustration with the F-35’s dominance in Europe itself is unstoppable and has been publicly revealed.
Recently, Saab Group President and CEO Micael Johansson spoke of his disappointment over the failure of the Gripen fighter to attract buyers other than the Swedish Air Force. Through state media at Saab’s Stockholm headquarters on Aug. 26, he said the Gripen had failed to meet its targets in the export market. He also blamed political factors as the reason behind the failure. The last time a Gripen fighter won a contract to supply aircraft overseas was in 2014.
Eight years ago, Gripen won the favor of Brazil, which agreed to buy 36 Swedish-made fighter planes for US$5.4 billion. In terms of fighter performance and capabilities, said Johansson, there is nothing that distinguishes the Gripen from similar fighter aircraft.
According to Defense News, analysts say the F-35’s wave of success is believed to be due to the high level of interoperability of the aircraft with allied and friendly warplanes, especially those under the NATO umbrella. He also said that the presence of the F-35 in Europe was considered timely. The reason is that various countries on the continent are considering replacing their fighter aircraft with more modern aircraft.
Belgium became the first European country to buy F-35s in 2018 with a commitment to acquire 34 F-35As, followed by Poland two years later by acquiring 32 F-35As. Then in 2021, Switzerland and Finland replaced their F/A-18 Hornets to buy 36 and 64 F-35s, respectively.
Recently, Germany planned to procure 35 F-35As to replace its Tornado fighter aircraft capable of carrying nuclear bombs. The Czech Republic has also stated its commitment to procuring 24 F-35 aircraft to replace the soon-to-be-retired Gripen.
Lockheed Martin estimates that by 2030, as many as 550 F-35 aircraft will be in service in Europe, including the US squadron of F-35 aircraft operating at Lakenheath Air Base in the UK.
Quoted from the Forbes page, the F-35 is currently really ready to be everywhere. From Finland, Italy, Poland, Israel, Australia to Japan. Sixteen countries purchased it or have expressed an intention to do so, and other countries will reportedly be joining the user community in the near future.
The sale of the F-35 in countries around the world is referred to as a major success to the greatest technological achievement of this generation. However, there is nothing sudden about the increase in sales of the F-35. It took two decades to get to this point, and a domestic political system that is willing to put aside sides for the sake of national security.
Today, the F-35 fighter aircraft thrives as an example of discipline and innovation that can be achieved despite opposition, and despite the friction of controversial political cultures.