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Farnborough Fades From View

Posted by Colin Clark on

FARNBOROUGH AIR SHOW: The biggest story at the show this year was all about something that didn’t happen: the foreign debut of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

With no new planes or helicopters coming from Europe’s military aircraft builders, the F-35 would have generated a great deal of comment. It did anyway, but most of those comments were about the fact the entire fleet was grounded until Tuesday. With the lifting of the so-called red stripe order, hopes rose that the plane would come, only to be dashed at dinner time that night.

The return of US officials after sequestration walloped Paris certainly put some spring the amount of news the show generated. But for Frank Kendall, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James, and, of course, the ubiquitous Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan, defense reporters would have had to rely even more on the increasingly thin roster of company briefings and news conferences.

Still, enormous amounts of business was conducted and defense executives still looked as tired as ever come Wednesday. It’s difficult to come up with a theme from this year’s show. American and European defense budgets are shrinking and that’s just the way it is.

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