Meanwhile, the Eurofighter Typhoon was nearing the end of its production cycle, with no new orders. Although there were plenty of updates envisioned, there was doubt if those updates would be funded due to the European debt crisis.
Dassault was heavily marketing its Rafale fighter, but seeing little success. So far its only customer was its home country of France.
Saab, while having some success marketing the Gripen as a low cost, lightweight fighter. Many potential buyers were drawn to the promise of the F-35, which, at the time, offered "5th generation" performance at an affordable price.
Oh, what a difference a couple of years make.
|A Saudi Arabian Typhoon|
|An Indian Rafale.|
|Swiss Gripen E.|
|RAAF Super Hornet.|
Boeing's stealthy F-15SE "Silent Eagle" has yet to obtain an order, but is under consideration by South Korea, along with the Typhoon and F-35.
|F-35Bs: Currently grounded.|
The F-35 is still in development, and as such, all these issues are likely to be solved. But solving these problems will take additional time and money, delaying acquisition and adding to the fighter's final cost. As costs rise and deliveries are delayed, potential customers are postponing, reducing, and may soon outright cancel their orders.
The Canadian government's recent decision to "reset" the F-35 fighter purchase has indeed been one of the program's greatest blows. If Canada decides to forgo the F-35 in favour of another, other F-35 partners may be emboldened to do the same. This may result in a "death spiral" where the F-35 loses its much balley-hooed "economies-of-scale" where the high cost of development is spread out over a large volume of purchases. As orders decrease, unit costs go up, leading to even more decreased or delayed order, which in turn, raises the unit cost higher.
I wonder what 2013 will bring?