Since we always like to report the good news about the JSF program, it gives us pleasure to conclude that the report of its death in Sunday's Times may be an exaggeration.
Although the Times reports that the UK is seriously thinking of scrapping the project and turning to a navalized Typhoon instead - as well as contemplating a pullout from the delayed and over-budget A400M - it seems more likely that what's happening is an options study, probably driven by the UK Treasury.
Whitehall's money mandarins are well known for pushing back on defense budget plans - and in this case may be asking why the MoD is trying to cut back its commitment to the Typhoon while buying a second fighter of about the same size. None of this necessarily means that a JSF pullout is on the books, much less imminent.
As we've reported here before, though, the UK still has an exit strategy in case the short take-off, vertical landing (STOVL) F-35B disappoints in crucial flight tests next year. That strategy - to complete the second CVF aircraft carrier with a catapult-arrest system, with the first one operating Harrier GR9s until it can be refitted - probably has to be invoked not long after the end of 2009.