That is certainly a question anyone who has been reading the defense media must be asking themselves these days:
More than 25 countries have expressed interest in Lockheed Martin Corp's F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, including Singapore, which is still evaluating its options, and South Korea, which is due to pick a winner in its fighter competition by year's end, top Lockheed officials said on Wednesday.
If you’ve read the critics of this aircraft, you have to be surprised to know that many countries are still interested. According to the critics this aircraft is an underpowered hanger queen and money pit which can’t do any of the missions it is supposedly designed for even half well.
Yet the military analysts in 25 other countries see something in the design, performance and promise of this fighter that at least have them interested enough to inquire.
Then there’s the Israeli air force which has a reputation for pretty rigorous analysis of potential weapons systems before they’ll accept them. They were offered one squadron of F-35s. They said, “no, we want two”.
Japan also had a fighter competition and did an analysis which found them deciding on the F-35 for their fighter of the future. Again, a country not known to accept anything but the best.
Perhaps the F-35 isn’t at all what the critics claim. Instead, given the interest and acceptance, it is the opposite of what they claim.
One has to admit, given the interest and the recent orders that reality seems to be siding with proponents of the aircraft and not the critics.