The US would have preferred not to sell the world's most advanced fighter to any foreign country, but cutbacks in US orders have seen the unit price of the F-22 balloon to an astronomical USD 361 million per copy. Worse still, the cutbacks threatened to shut down the production line early, hampering future upgrades. And of course, jobs are on the line. Japan, Great Britain and Australia are the most likely customers. Of those, Japan is the most likely to buy, given its upcoming need for replacements...and also its ability to come up with the cash. Great Britain may order a few, but would face a political minefield with argument as to why it simply does not order more Eurofighters. Australia is somewhat committed to the JSF, but recent setbacks in the program are causing a rethink, along with the fact that the JSF may not be able to match the latest Sukhois the MiGs that are looming in Australia's back door. But the cost of the plane looks to be prohibitive to a relatively small economy like Australia's.
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