Wings Magazine

Features Operations
Paris Report

Familiar show, only quieter


October 1, 2007
By Raymon J. Kaduck and Ken Pole

Topics

185-parisTHE HYPE surrounding this year’s Paris Air Show was largely about who
would not be there. The Pentagon persuaded its defence contractors to
withdraw or reduce their presence to punish the Elysée Palace for its
obstructionism over the Iraq war. In a sense, the transatlantic
bunfight gave US manufacturers a convenient excuse to scale down, which
is just being rational in the current aerospace downturn. The change
may be permanent, however, with the US military concentrating on only
two shows – Farnborough and the Singapore Asian Aerospace event.

One
US player that remained in the game was Lockheed Martin. The F-35 Joint
Strike Fighter program is a microcosm of the changing landscape of
military aerospace, because it does not map onto existing commercial or
political structures. Tom Burbage, executive vice-president and program
manager explained: “Not all partners are NATO (Australia), not all
partners were part of the coalition of the willing (Canada) and not all
partners are members of the EU, but several are. Five of the partners
are part of the F-16 user community, and two of the partners are
Eurofighter partner countries (Italy, UK).”