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The Hard Politics of Fighter Procurement


My latest at the Diplomat:

The announcement in the Business Standard that the Indian Air Force was less than interested in continuing its relationship with Russia over the PAK FA came as a major surprise. Notwithstanding Indian interest in generation 4.5 fighters such as the Rafale, collaboration with the Russians on the PAK FA was intended to deliver India a fifth generation stealth fighter, as well as a variety of technology transfers. The Indian Air Force had a multitude of complaints, ranging from poor technology to bad engines to sloppy construction.

One lesson is that all advance defense programs have trouble, including the Russian ones. The endless series of difficulties with the F-35 are less the exception that the rule (even granting that the F-35′s troubles may be truly exceptional).


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