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One major difference between the F-35 and other programs is that it is as close to an aircraft-as-a-service model as you get. You never really own the software and data, only the hardware. And even there requirements Lockheed imposes are crazy high.

And regarding the stealth and other tech stuff, well, I'm not sure about that. During the last ILA the F-35 didn't fly because some company, Hensold if I remember well, had some fancy new radar tech on-site. They only flew when the radar was removed from the premises, even then rumor at the time was Hensold could pinpoint the F-35 reasonably well.

If you ask me, the F-35 was a shot at a NATO monopoly on combat aircraft including a decade long support market and de-facto last word on operations regardless of operator. Seems it didn't work out as planned so far with Germany and France as well as the UK looking at home-grown Gen5+ fighters.




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