Sunday, August 2, 2009

Shot Across the Bow (or Wing)

Maybe I'm just too cynical for my own good, but I refuse to take this story at face value. Not that it can't be true, mind you: Israel needs to purchase replacements for its aging Skyhawk trainer-bombers, so it's looking in various directions including at a South Korean plane. That part I certainly hope is true. What isn't credible to me is that anyone takes such a scenario seriously.

Such a transaction must be worth a billion $, or three, and many years of followup purchases. Since 1968 Israel has purchased all its aircraft from the US. Why, earlier this decade when El Al needed to purchase a few civilian jetliners and had landed a fine offer from Airbus, the pressure from the American government was so intense that the deal fell through and the planes were purchased, as they always are, from Boeing. El Al is a private airline; the Israeli Air Force (IAF) is a government agency, all that more susepctible to political pressure.

What's the chance that the appearance of this story in Haaretz at this particular moment reflects a purely commercial deliberation? Pinkt jetzt, as they say in French? No connection whatsoever with the mutual dissatisfaction between the Netanyahu-Obama offices?

I think not.


Anonymous said...

maybe not.

Hard to tell these days. I am hoping we get into closer relations with the Koreans and Chinese in order to lessen our dependence on any one supplier.

It's just good business.

Joe in Australia said...

It isn't just the financial aspect: military designs are refined through production and use. The more jets you produce, and the more they are flown, the better the product. That isn't to say that the financial aspect can be ignored. Besides the actual cost of the jets there's the ability to amortise plant and design costs over a greater number of units, bringing the unit cost down.