Joint strike fighter across the Atlantic to unify or divide?
Reinhard, Scott W.
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This thesis examines the procurement of fighter aircraft as an indication of transatlantic relations. Specifically it asks if European rationale toward purchasing the Joint Strike Fighter indicates its position toward increasing military capabilities and the importance placed on defense cooperation with the United States. Certain observers have suggested that the relentless U.S. pursuit of technology in the â Revolution in Military Affairsâ has exacerbated the capabilities gap and encouraged the U.S. to act unilaterally. This thesis argues the JSF offers allies a means to circumvent recent damage done in the Atlantic Alliance. Through a case study of four countries â expectedâ to purchase the JSF to replace U.S.-made F-16 aircraft, this thesis concludes that rationale for some who have heretofore abstained from the program is worrisome, but the fact that some are electing to pursue other choices indicates further divergences in the transatlantic realm. Through the views of these countries and looking at the larger picture, the JSF will further divide Europe and the U.S. in defense relations, as the pursuit of military technology threatens to drive the U.S. away from multilateralism and toward a â buy our equipment or be left outâ stance on the so-called network centric battlefield.