While this is one of the better examples, a lot of the unnamed Defence source quotes in the beginning of the piece have little merit.
For instance, Japan fields a fighter aircraft different than anyone else.
The Joint Strike Fighter partner nations were supposed to be good for over 700 F-35s. This has not happened because of huge technical delay and various governments not handing over money at an earlier date.
That includes Australia.
The idea that Australia will hand over the money in 2012 for 14 F-35s is not a done deal. Defence Minister Smith is not happy with the program. He very well could recommend pointing that money at Nelson v2 for more Super Hornets.
Japan is both dumb and smart. Dumb in picking a virtual fighter aircraft with severe problems. Smart in being independent enough to never get involved in something like the Joint Strike Fighter Partner Nation Ponzi Scheme.
Because Japan is an FMS deal with strong home-political considerations--along with having some existing home aerospace industry--they will get more value out of the home workshare. Also, the potential Korean F-35 FMS deal will offer better home-workshare agreements. A Korean F-35 FMS deal could look something like how KF-16s were done.
Locally, the F-16s will be designated KF-16. Under the terms of the agreement, Lockheed Fort Worth will manufacture the first 12 aircraft, the next 36 will be delivered in kit form and assembled in South Korea, whereas the last 72 will be built in South Korea by Samsung Aerospace. This makes South Korea the 5th country to produce the F-16, after the US, Belgium, the Netherlands and Turkey. Major subcontractors are Daewoo and Korean Air. The expertise gained in the program will be put to use in the Korean Trainer Experiment program. South Korea took delivery of the first of these (LMTAS-built) aircraft on December 2nd, 1994.
That is a lot of missing "best value" for the JSF Partner Nations holding out their hands for work.
Note: Israel is different given they receive $3B in U.S. foreign aid credits every year.
Politicians in JSF Partner Nations should be wondering why their country is getting hosed.
Each JSF Partner Nation (depending on their level of participation) gets a fee paid back to them for each F-35 FMS sale. For example, if the fee for each Japanese F-35 is $6M, the Partner Nations would get (assuming 42 jets) $252M split up between them based on their participation level. For instance, the UK is a level 1 JSF Partner and would get a higher percentage of the kick-back than anyone else. While it is not chicken feed, it isn't much either because there is so little work being done with JSF Partner Nation home workshare because of all the missing orders thus far.
The Japan deal is helpful to JSF Partner nation's best value industry (and U.S. industry) in the way that a half-box of band-aids are helpful to a patient with multiple arterial bleeding wounds.
The math backing up the unnamed Defence official quoted in the article is really that bad.
Over-hyping Japan's announcement isn't going to change the fact that there are a lot of technical hurdles to get over with the F-35. That and the original business plan--the heart of JSF affordability; concurrency--is dead.
And, the F-35 will be obsolete vs. the threat over its alleged service lifetime.