WASHINGTON — The F-35 will sit out the Paris Air Show this June, the joint program office confirmed Tuesday.
A spokesman for the F-35 Joint Program Office told Defense News that — to his knowledge — the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Marine Corps had not been invited to bring the F-35 to the Paris Air Show this year, and as such the JPO is not planning on making an appearance. The news was first reported by Aviation Week.
The Paris Air Show, held at Le Bourget Airport, and the Farnborough International Airshow, held in England, are the two largest events of their kind in Europe, held on alternating years. It is up to the host nation to invite participants for flight demonstrations, and such planning normally begins half a year or so in advance.
The Marine Corps F-35B made its debut appearance at Farnborough last year, while both the "B" model and the Air Force F-35A flew at the Royal International Air Tattoo, an annual air show in England that precedes Farnborough.
The event was a media extravaganza. Flight demonstrations generated public interest in the Lockheed Martin-manufactured stealth fighter, while top Air Force and Marine Corps officials attending the air tattoo and Farnborough touted the jet's capabilities.
Unlike the United Kingdom — which is an international partner, customer and steadfast supporter of the F-35 program — France has remained uninterested in the aircraft, investing instead in its indigenous Dassault Rafale.
Although the U.S. government won’t be showing off the F-35, Lockheed Martin almost certainly will make the aircraft a focal point of its marketing during the Paris Air Show. The company is entrenched in talks with Belgium, Finland, Switzerland and Spain about potential purchases of the aircraft.