This is how it starts, an 'official leak' has been instigated, showing that the Americans have some serious doubts about the F35. As they quite rightly should. That it has reached British media is a coincidence.
Reports on this security level are not just "leaked" as if it were another NOTW story. If it actually were that easy then the Russians and Iranians, the Chinese and god knows who else, would be all over it. In reality this sort of classified information barely gets out of the building in which it was compiled. Hence, this is not a 'leak story'.
We wont be able to buy the F35 simply because it will cost us too much, it is a hugely complex aircraft which might fly some day, but not on their budget nor timeline. It will fly but not under our flag.
As you might understand, this unfortunate situation lends itself to the rather politically embarrassing scenario where we have: two aircraft carriers, one which we have mothballed straight away because we cannot afford planes to fly from it and the other does not have any planes at all because they do not work. What is the quick solution? Navalised HAWKs possibly yes, but they have virtually no weaponry to speak of, pretty A/C though. We could buy Americans F18 Hornets, and loads of them for probably a reduced price. But no, we will buy French because, as you know, we are now in a strategic alliance with the French. This means that they will buy the second mothballed carrier and put their Rafales on them, and we will buy their Rafales to put on ours. A neat but very dishonest solution. As such it fits very nicely with the British political landscape, where there has not been an honest voice since the end of WW2.
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