Today Boeing announced that they will not be participating further in Belgiums F-16 fighter replacement program. They cuote as a reason unlevel “playing field”. This is underrestood as a stoneaxe toward US government direction rather than the competition in Europe.
“Boeing informed the Belgian government that it will not participate in its bidders conference today, nor respond to the request for proposals for a new fighter aircraft,” (the “Request for governmental Proposal”, RfGP), sent last month by the Belgian Ministry of Defense to five state agencies – two American and three European – each representing a type of aircraft, the US company said in a statement to the Belgian news agency Belga.
“We regret that after reviewing the request we do not see an opportunity to compete on a truly level playing field with the […] F/A-18 Super Hornet.” the company added, describing the aircraft as “extremely capable” for its cost effectiveness. from Airrecognition.com.
So it MAY be that US government is indeed forcefully pushing the F-35 to any crook and cranny it might fit in order to cut financial burden for the USAF. This does not look too favorable for the HX-program.
IF indeed this program is turning too costly for United states thay indeed may try to force F-35 to anyone. USA is, as the foremost aerial weapons provider in the world, in exellent position to force their equipment to dependent governmets. This applies to SAAB Gripen who is dependent on US engines for JAS-39 E fighters. Safest in this is the Dassault Rafale as the French have whole nine, well at least 8 yards, of the Rafale production and armaments on their own soil.
Eurofighter is not as dependent as the SAAB plane is, but a bit less so than the French Rafale is.