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UK's Reid sees US combat jet deal in 2006

Written by: Staff
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LONDON, Apr 5 (Reuters) Britain and the United States should be able to resolve technology transfer issues by the end of this year to allow London to buy F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft as planned, Defence Secretary John Reid said today.

Britain is the main foreign buyer of the JSF, which promises to be the biggest warplane programme in history, costing 0 billion for nearly 2,600 next-generation radar-evading supersonic jets.

Britain wants the Lockheed Martin Corp. jets to become the core of its naval air fleet aboard two new carriers.

But British officials have been upset because Washington has not offered a waiver of technology transfer rules, which would mean that expensive software upgrades could only be carried out in the United States during the life of the planes.

British officials have discussed other possibilities, including designing a naval version of the Eurofighter Typhoon, the main European rival warplane.

Reid flew to Washington on Wednesday, where he is to meet Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and members of the U.S.

congress. He said the JSF programme would be on his agenda.

''We all, that is us and the U.S., we all need to resolve this issue this year and we all know that. We are approaching this positively,'' Reid told Reuters in a telephone interview before leaving London for Washington.

Asked if Britain would consider buying alternative warplanes instead of the JSF if Washington does not lift its technology transfer rules, Reid repeated: ''We are approaching this positively.'' The issue is nettlesome in Britain, Washington's main battlefield ally in Iraq and Afghanistan, which believes its ''special relationship'' ought to give it a pass on rules designed to keep military technology out of the hands of enemies.

Foreign partners, led by Britain which has committed LONDON, Apr 5 (Reuters) Britain and the United States should be able to resolve technology transfer issues by the end of this year to allow London to buy F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft as planned, Defence Secretary John Reid said today.

Britain is the main foreign buyer of the JSF, which promises to be the biggest warplane programme in history, costing $250 billion for nearly 2,600 next-generation radar-evading supersonic jets.

Britain wants the Lockheed Martin Corp. jets to become the core of its naval air fleet aboard two new carriers.

But British officials have been upset because Washington has not offered a waiver of technology transfer rules, which would mean that expensive software upgrades could only be carried out in the United States during the life of the planes.

British officials have discussed other possibilities, including designing a naval version of the Eurofighter Typhoon, the main European rival warplane.

Reid flew to Washington on Wednesday, where he is to meet Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and members of the U.S.

congress. He said the JSF programme would be on his agenda.

''We all, that is us and the U.S., we all need to resolve this issue this year and we all know that. We are approaching this positively,'' Reid told Reuters in a telephone interview before leaving London for Washington.

Asked if Britain would consider buying alternative warplanes instead of the JSF if Washington does not lift its technology transfer rules, Reid repeated: ''We are approaching this positively.'' The issue is nettlesome in Britain, Washington's main battlefield ally in Iraq and Afghanistan, which believes its ''special relationship'' ought to give it a pass on rules designed to keep military technology out of the hands of enemies.

Foreign partners, led by Britain which has committed $2 billion, together account for 10 percent of the plane's development funding.

Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, Canada, Australia, Denmark and Norway are also involved. And several of those countries have voiced concerns that U.S. technology rules will make the planes costly for them to maintain.

Britain has also been irked by a U.S. decision to scrap a $2.4 billion contract to develop a second engine for the JSF, which dealt a blow to British manufacturer Rolls-Royce ''We are hoping for a positive outcome from the issue of technology transfer, because the JSF is very important to us and indeed to the United States on operational grounds, on commercial grounds and also on strategic political grounds,'' Reid said.

''It is not only an essential practical element of our cooperation together, it is also in many ways a symbol of the close working relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom.'' REUTERS CH RK1918 billion, together account for 10 percent of the plane's development funding.

Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, Canada, Australia, Denmark and Norway are also involved. And several of those countries have voiced concerns that U.S. technology rules will make the planes costly for them to maintain.

Britain has also been irked by a U.S. decision to scrap a LONDON, Apr 5 (Reuters) Britain and the United States should be able to resolve technology transfer issues by the end of this year to allow London to buy F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft as planned, Defence Secretary John Reid said today.

Britain is the main foreign buyer of the JSF, which promises to be the biggest warplane programme in history, costing $250 billion for nearly 2,600 next-generation radar-evading supersonic jets.

Britain wants the Lockheed Martin Corp. jets to become the core of its naval air fleet aboard two new carriers.

But British officials have been upset because Washington has not offered a waiver of technology transfer rules, which would mean that expensive software upgrades could only be carried out in the United States during the life of the planes.

British officials have discussed other possibilities, including designing a naval version of the Eurofighter Typhoon, the main European rival warplane.

Reid flew to Washington on Wednesday, where he is to meet Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and members of the U.S.

congress. He said the JSF programme would be on his agenda.

''We all, that is us and the U.S., we all need to resolve this issue this year and we all know that. We are approaching this positively,'' Reid told Reuters in a telephone interview before leaving London for Washington.

Asked if Britain would consider buying alternative warplanes instead of the JSF if Washington does not lift its technology transfer rules, Reid repeated: ''We are approaching this positively.'' The issue is nettlesome in Britain, Washington's main battlefield ally in Iraq and Afghanistan, which believes its ''special relationship'' ought to give it a pass on rules designed to keep military technology out of the hands of enemies.

Foreign partners, led by Britain which has committed $2 billion, together account for 10 percent of the plane's development funding.

Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, Canada, Australia, Denmark and Norway are also involved. And several of those countries have voiced concerns that U.S. technology rules will make the planes costly for them to maintain.

Britain has also been irked by a U.S. decision to scrap a $2.4 billion contract to develop a second engine for the JSF, which dealt a blow to British manufacturer Rolls-Royce ''We are hoping for a positive outcome from the issue of technology transfer, because the JSF is very important to us and indeed to the United States on operational grounds, on commercial grounds and also on strategic political grounds,'' Reid said.

''It is not only an essential practical element of our cooperation together, it is also in many ways a symbol of the close working relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom.'' REUTERS CH RK1918 .4 billion contract to develop a second engine for the JSF, which dealt a blow to British manufacturer Rolls-Royce ''We are hoping for a positive outcome from the issue of technology transfer, because the JSF is very important to us and indeed to the United States on operational grounds, on commercial grounds and also on strategic political grounds,'' Reid said.

''It is not only an essential practical element of our cooperation together, it is also in many ways a symbol of the close working relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom.'' REUTERS CH RK1918

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