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Competitors to the Gripen?

zen

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While Sweden was pursuing what became the Gripen, we know of two states that were also pursuing light fighter/attack types.

Israel, with it's Lavi.
Yugoslavia with it's Novi Avion.

So my question is what would have happened if either or both these efforts had reach production, service and potential for export?
Who would have bought them besides the states that produced them?

Could Israel have exported the Lavi considering it's US sourced elements?
Could Yugoslavia (assuming it had not broken up) have exported the Novi Avion with French sourced components? would'nt this compete with French efforts to export Mirage 2000's?

We know the Swedes had a number of problems exporting thanks to US sourced elements, most notably with Finland which ended up buying the F/A-18 Hornet.

We also now see that in to date not that many Gripen have actually been bought, though there is more potential for the future with Brazil.

However we also saw a number of states renovate numbers of Mig21's for example, rather than buy new.

I might also mention India's LCA...Tejas, but this is not a poster child for speedy progress sadly.
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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British Aerospace discussed their P.106 with Sweden and India.

In another universe, P.106 was built with a single EJ.200 engine by BAE/Saab as the SAAB Gripen / BAe Griffon F.1 and a license sold to India.
 

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zen

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The P.106 option is a interesting alternative path, but I rather suspect that it needs scaling up to actually be a more rational choice for the RAF.

In essence as I have suggested so during discussions on the P.1216, an interesting alternative would be to go CTOL and use the scaled up XG40/EJ200 engine intended for the P.1216, in 'straight through' conventional form. This could power something virtually the size of the Eurofighter.

But as a direct competitor to the Grippen? I'm not so sure, since the P.106 rather suggests a collaborative effort is highly possible between Sweden and the UK....so it's more of a Griffen, than a Grippen ;)
Not a bad production run, at over 200 for Sweden and a similar number for the RAF. 400 as a starting figure is a good basis for exports.

The other option of the times was collaboration between the UK and India on the P.106, likely the UK leading and driving the project forwards and ultimately the stresses between BAe and HAL and their respective governments would end that collaboration.

AMX international is interesting, if the Italians were onboard to build this supersonic successor the AMX. Then it's potential is there.

One might even speculate that if the UK is working with Sweden on the P.106, hopes for a European collaborative effort would fall apart and Italy might well have pursued such.
In which case we might even be talking of a glut of such light fighter/attack types.
-----------
But back to the two I mentioned at the start......
Could we have seen Romania opt in on the Novi Avion? After all these two had worked together before and Romania had upgraded their Mig21's locally if memory serves, as they had even designed their own aircraft but clearly lacked the willpower/finances to fund it.
Could this even have found other Balkan and Eastern European customers? States which in our history have chosen the Grippen or stuck with Russian aircraft...
-----
Lavi....in the light of the trend of working with India, could we see this offered as a faster track means of replacing the IAF's Mig21's as the LCA languishes in delay after delay?
Could we have seen the Lavi offered to South Africa?
What about Turkey? They did have a good relationship during this period, and we even saw Turkish F4's have some upgrades done in Israel if memory serves. So there could have been scope for a Turkish order.

...speaking of South Africa, some of the CAVA options were in this size/performance class. What happens if they had funded their own aircraft.?
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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P.110 was originally a private venture design aimed at Saudi Arabia and was a simple repackaging of Foxhunter and RB.199 Mk.103 in an agile airframe, caused by Saudi dissatisfaction with Tornado ADV agility. 200 were expected to be sold.

When Saudi interest waned, there was interest in a group purchase from Jordan and Iraq, then later on Oman, UAE and Jordan/Kuwait were interested.

Later developments met almost all the AST requirements for the Eurofighter.

Back to topic - Carver was later in timing and benefitted from Lavi cancellation.

I can't see Lavi selling well, and Novi Avion was a bit of a pipe dream according to some industry "locals".
 

zen

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Yeap agree that's my reading of the P.110 too.

And yeap there is a degree of flaws as I said in each of the Grippen alternatives bar the one with Italy and the UK involved, as these are the ones that can source the key components.
Lavi is hampered by a host of US sourced or licensed kit, most notably the PW1120.

Novi Avion, needs French radar, French weapons, and French engines. Romania's efforts seem to be using Soviet engines, radar and weaponry, or am I reading that wrong?

Caver is using a 'new' engine supposedly built by a country that has managed to maintain French built Atars.

Even the Grippen is hampered by the US engine and the US restrictions on AMRAAM.

So the strongest contender seems to be.....UK-Swedish cooperation on a Light fighter/attack machine. P.106/System 39....Griffen.
UK can source the engine, and a host of parts. With SkyFlash and a potential Skyflash II or what become Meteor the weaponry is taken care of.
So not so much a contender as an alternative to the Grippen.

Run with that for a mo'.......besides the launch partners, who would have bought this?
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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I think Italy and Spain (assuming Typhoon doesn't happen) might be interested. Germany perhaps (think of the "we can't afford EFA" years where Germany delayed EFA - a cheaper model might well be acceptable).
 

zen

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It would be an interesting alternative to ponder, that this more effectively succeeds the old F104 Starfighters and the Jaguar.

It is also interesting to ponder that with a UK and Swedish options for radar for instance, there would be scope for others to offer products that give customers alternative options on the same airframe. In part this helps with concerns over workshare, rather than trying to create a new common European set of systems.

One might even ponder the French offering an alternative engine from M88 family.

I can see how being potentially cheaper, and potentially more configurable for 'local' content, this would be potentially more secure post Cold War as a project and less subject to delays and cost overruns.
Germany could just cut the numbers, or increase it's German content for instance. Granted this undermines commonality and supportability across European members of NATO, but it's easier to keep the project going forward in the face of financial objections.
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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Taking nothing away from Ericcson, there was a lot of assistance from Ferranti on the PS-05 radar in the Gripen. So it would likely have been a Ferranti-Ericcson radar based on Blue Falcon / Blue Vixen. Captor is basically an enlarged Blue Vixen.
 

zen

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Doesn't that make this a more interesting scenario?
A quite comprehensive UK-Swedish cooperative effort for a common Fighter/Attack aircraft. Replacing Viggen, and Jaguar.
 

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Given the Swedish propensity to cater for using caves as hangars and take-offs from roads and the intent from AST.396 and AST.403 to provide V/STOL or VSTOL take-off performance and dispersed operations it would indeed be an interesting scenario to imagine a common replacement for Viggen and Jaguar and potentially Harrier too. Of course the emphasis of AST.396 and AST.403 was ground attack, but certainly a decent multi-role type could have been the outcome.
 
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riggerrob

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The Israeli Lavi project only lasted from 1980 to 1987 - with the first flight in 1986.
Given the massive funding from America - and Grumman's massive contribution to composite airframe development - I have long wondered if Lavi was more of a Pentagon R&D project that was never really intended to enter production?????? ... at least from the American perspective.
The 21 - 20 cancellation vote, bitterly divided that Kniset, making cancellation as controversial as cancellation of Canada's Avro Arrow 30 years earlier.
 
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zen

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Israel was only going to succeed in the Lavi if it was say licenced to a US company for production there as well.

Similar I suspect with Novi Avion. Unless they could find providers for all those French components.

Though curiously my reading of Romania's effort is had say India had a reasonable engine.......but again there's the radar issue.

If anything one has to wonder how many more sales the Gripen would achieve if it wasn't using US engines and AMRAAM.
 

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Dassault was already flooding that market, taking no risk with
- end-of-life Mirage III upgrades - 50, NG, EX...
- mid-life Mirage F1E (the -Q to Iraq was armed to the teeth, even better than the French ones - D'oh !)
- early Mirage 2000 sales (Peru, India)
Although they ate each others a little, they also helped securing every single RFP, small or big, rich or poor country.
 

Archibald

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British Aerospace discussed their P.106 with Sweden and India.

In another universe, P.106 was built with a single EJ.200 engine by BAE/Saab as the SAAB Gripen / BAe Griffon F.1 and a license sold to India.
The P.106 is sooooo sleeek and beautiful.
 

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Dassault was already flooding that market, taking no risk with
...
Although they ate each others a little, they also helped securing every single RFP, small or big, rich or poor country.
On the surface, I agree wholeheartedly. France did a tidy little business. But political realities what they were, there was a great appetite for "made here/buy here" in that same market. There were (still are!) plenty of countries enticed by the opportunity to build and export in this category. Even the Swiss looked at the Piranha! Unfortunately, that abundance also precludes large export orders which would make exports more affordable. If you can get a handful of countries into a Jaguar -replacement you'd be able to dominate the rest of the market on cost. But one- or two-country agreements aren't going to get there.

If the SEPECAT consortium survives and adds AMX, you're going to fully dominate that segment because of the production scope/costs. Too bad it's always so hard to cut the pieces of the pie at the policymaking level! Smaller slices of a much bigger pie would almost certainly be better for everyone (especially since it also spreads development costs). Can Gripen (and equivalents) survive where a pan-european Jaguar replacement exists as a low-cost supplement in the midmarket? It seems unlikely. But how do you get there?

If France had stayed in EFA, with the rest of the partners caving a bit to requirements (not to say the necessarily should have), would the UK, Germany, Spain, Italy, not have probably enjoyed the substantial reduction in shared development costs and economies of scale to a degree that they ultimately could self-justify caving (to say nothing of the option of later embarking the EFA on Royal Navy carriers)? Would not the single program of 700+ airframes be more affordable, and more export able. (Flipside, btw, is probably also true. France might have been ultimately healthier with a smaller slice of a much, much bigger and cheaper EFA program, and buying cheap Hornets to replace the Crusaders.)

Can the Gripen and others in the middle segment survive in a market where the EFA is available at around $70 million? Maybe? Certainly not if EFA and pan-european Jaguar-replacement both exist. You'd eat everyone's lunch at one end or the other.

I fully expect Tiff and Rafale fans to balk, and explain the superior approach for their country by their respective programs, and how each side was happy with the split and resulting design (which is probably true enough at face value). I just don't fully buy the rationale for either.
 

uk 75

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Going back to the original question.
Gripen only sold to Czech,Hungary, South Africa and nearly to Austria because BAe pitched in.
Lavi was a hi tech Israel specific design. S Africa might have been given the technology for an Atlas Cheetah replacement. The Kfir was more than adequate for others.
Yugoslavia might have sold some to Iraq and Romania.
The market for this category of aircraft was and is tied to defence cooperation packages and often involves unsavoury or impoverished customers.
 

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The interesting part about the EFA split is that I think the French and British were closer on requirements, with Germany as outlier. An Anglo-French EFA would look more like Rafale.
I'm split on this. Not easy to get a clear vision of the last days before the typhoon / Rafale split.
From memory
- Great Britain wanted longer range to patrol above Germany from British bases
- Germany - can't remember their requirement, honestly.
- France was a loner with its requirement for "multirole above all" including nuclear strike and carrier ops
- Spain very nearly jumped onboard Rafale in '85 before joining the Typhoon league.

More than a common airframe / requirement, what split the team was M88 vs EJ200. Screw the former, and SNECMA takes a huge blow. But RB.199 and Rolls royce won't budge either, because Tornado legacy.

Nuclear strike and carrier ops did not helped either.

ASMP mean the two-seater will have to be far more than a "trainer" and closer from a F-111 - tree-top supersonic flight. See Mirage 2000B vs 2000N.

Carrier ops is even worse: weight had to be kept under control, not only for CdG but also for Foch (because that second CdG is never-coming, so Foch will have to hang on until 2004 at least - Brazilian Navy ? WTF ?)
 
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As I recall the main technical sticking point was the aircraft weight empty. The French wanted / needed it to be 9 tonne max for carrier ops while everyone else seemed to be happy with 10 tonne. As it turns out both aircraft have grown by about a tonne but weight growth always seems inevitable. Given that the angled flight deck of Charles de Gaulle had to be extended after it entered service to take the E-2C Hawkeye then maybe their weight concerns were justified (and yes I am aware of the weights of an E-2C).

And then we have the politics. But I won’t go there!!!
 

galgot

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As I recall the main technical sticking point was the aircraft weight empty. The French wanted / needed it to be 9 tonne max for carrier ops while everyone else seemed to be happy with 10 tonne. As it turns out both aircraft have grown by about a tonne but weight growth always seems inevitable. Given that the angled flight deck of Charles de Gaulle had to be extended after it entered service to take the E-2C Hawkeye then maybe their weight concerns were justified (and yes I am aware of the weights of an E-2C).

And then we have the politics. But I won’t go there!!!
Yes, from what I remember a main point of discord was the weight. For the points above, but also because the French beleived it is weight that determined the cost of the aircraft, and making a 8/9 tons twin engines, would make it cheaper than a 10/11 tons twin engines, so more exportable.
Anyway, that was the narative, we see now that both Typhoon and Rafale are approx in the same price range. So dunno if that weight to price relation was very relevant at a 2 to 3 tons difference.
Also, had France stayed in EFA, I don't think the resulting plane would have been much cheaper than Typhoon/Rafale anyway. Given the fact that it was sure to be a 9 to 11 tons twin engines, I bet the price would not have changed a lot from what we have now.
If the resulting plane could have been significantly cheaper due to reduction in shared development costs and economies of scale by adding France, why then is Typhoon, done by four countries , not significantly cheaper than Rafale ?
Buying Hornets was Marine Nationale's dream, but for one, these were/are not exactly cheap, and it adds another type to the inventory when the idea was to have ONE type that could replace all the old stuff (one can debate if that was a success, but at least, all fighters in service are domestic now).
Plus, by now france would have to be thinking of replacing these Hornets. With what ? F-35s ? That would be pumping money that could be used on other domestic programs, and making them even less doable.

About Gripen survival with facing a pan-European Jaguar replacemement competitor, I don't see why it wouln't have.
It was from the begining an domestic program for a domestic air force demand, as previous Swedish fighters . Not really meant to "survive" by being exported. Export is a plus, but not an requisite to the survival of the program. So the existence or not of a pan-European Jaguar (an attack plane replacement ? ...) that would eventually be a competitor as little to do with Gripen survival.
 
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Trident

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A Rafale A sized version of the eventual production airframe (led by France) with 5000kg fuel capacity, EJ200s (led by Britain), PIRATE, towed decoy and DDM-NG? I think I'm in love!
 

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And Britain and France operating 2 CVF each with cats and traps and Rafale M!

Why does politics always have to get in the way of a good alt hist? It is a rhetorical question!
 

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Back in the early 1990s Germany was pushing for a less expensive Eurofighter, including even a single edged variant. If such a development had gone ahead, it could have proven a competitor to the Gripen.

Mind you, I wonder if the Germans looked closely at the Gripen at that time?
 

zen

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Back in the early 1990s Germany was pushing for a less expensive Eurofighter, including even a single edged variant. If such a development had gone ahead, it could have proven a competitor to the Gripen.

Mind you, I wonder if the Germans looked closely at the Gripen at that time?
No they were looking at F16s at the time. Another legacy of Schröder.
 

uk 75

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Talking of F16, the Bulgarian, Polish, and Romanian Air Forces have all bought them, or rather, got them on easy terms.
Not quite sure where this thread is going.
 

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Back in the early 1990s Germany was pushing for a less expensive Eurofighter, including even a single edged variant. If such a development had gone ahead, it could have proven a competitor to the Gripen.

Mind you, I wonder if the Germans looked closely at the Gripen at that time?
No they were looking at F16s at the time. Another legacy of Schröder.
Err, they looked at multiple options (including the Gripen - thus answering my own question above), including a single engined version of the Typhoon. It is covered to a degree in WORLD AIR POWER JOURNAL, Volume 35 / Winter 1998
 

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One seemingly not mentioned in this thread so far: Northrop F-20
 

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If the resulting plane could have been significantly cheaper due to reduction in shared development costs and economies of scale by adding France, why then is Typhoon, done by four countries , not significantly cheaper than Rafale ?
More partners mean more complex programme which costs money. More partners mean more requirements e.g indigenous weapon integration. Adding in carrier operations and nuclear carriage aren't small requirement changes.

Four production lines means you don't get economies of scale in assembly.

Basically for many partner programmes to be more cost effective then most partners have to subsidize any partner which has requirement outliers (e.g carrier ops) and build on as few production lines as possible. So really some partners are just massively subsidizing others - at some point it becomes cheaper to do your own programme, or just buy off the shelf.
 

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Back in the early 1990s Germany was pushing for a less expensive Eurofighter, including even a single edged variant. If such a development had gone ahead, it could have proven a competitor to the Gripen.

Mind you, I wonder if the Germans looked closely at the Gripen at that time?
The Gripen got a very, very bad start in the early 90's, when two of the prototypes crashed - SAAB learning FBW the hard way. 1989 and 1993, from memory. It might have scared the Germans...
 
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Archibald

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A Rafale A sized version of the eventual production airframe (led by France) with 5000kg fuel capacity, EJ200s (led by Britain), PIRATE, towed decoy and DDM-NG? I think I'm in love!
Not going to happen unless somebody nuke SNECMA out of the face of Earth. And since it was a public company...
 

Archibald

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And Britain and France operating 2 CVF each with cats and traps and Rafale M!

Why does politics always have to get in the way of a good alt hist? It is a rhetorical question!
Makes some sense but once again history won't allow for it. As said in this thread Rafale / Typhoon split was unavoidable after 1983 and the decision to build ACX and EAP demonstrators.

I got some threads in this forum alt history section about how to get around the "split" by starting from 1977 and the Mirage 3000 (two RB.199 Mirage 2000 = subscale Mirage 4000).

Getting the French navy out of the way, one way or another (naval Mirage F1 or F-18) is mandatory. Typhoon even by 1984 can't be navalized (for more than technical reasons), at least not for Charles de Gaulle and even less for Foch.
 

galgot

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A Rafale A sized version of the eventual production airframe (led by France) with 5000kg fuel capacity, EJ200s (led by Britain), PIRATE, towed decoy and DDM-NG? I think I'm in love!
Not going to happen unless somebody nuke SNECMA out of the face of Earth. And since it was a public company...
And since lot of money had been spent on M88 development already, it would have been like tossing all that money by the window.
 

Archibald

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The M88 story by itself (starting from 1977 !) is related to Atar monoculture and the TF306 vs M53 quagmire, SNECMA saying "third time is the charm". Sure, the M88 is fine, but it ran into the RR RB199 / EJ200 connection, and caused the split. Bad luck.

The M53, compared to the F100 / F110, was "average" engine at best, and the F404 / RB.199 "medium size turbofans" underlined SNECMA weaknesses in military turbofans. The M88 was to be the revenge, and they succeeded, but failed on the politics, somewhat (see above, RR).

- M88
- carrier ops
- two-seat nuclear strike

Remove this three roadblocks, and a Raphoon or Typhale (ROTFL) hybrid might happen.
 
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galgot

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If the resulting plane could have been significantly cheaper due to reduction in shared development costs and economies of scale by adding France, why then is Typhoon, done by four countries , not significantly cheaper than Rafale ?
More partners mean more complex programme which costs money. More partners mean more requirements e.g indigenous weapon integration. Adding in carrier operations and nuclear carriage aren't small requirement changes.

Four production lines means you don't get economies of scale in assembly.

Basically for many partner programmes to be more cost effective then most partners have to subsidize any partner which has requirement outliers (e.g carrier ops) and build on as few production lines as possible. So really some partners are just massively subsidizing others - at some point it becomes cheaper to do your own programme, or just buy off the shelf.
Btw , why wasn't UK looking for a carrier fighter too ?
Was there no willing to go back to a Catobar carrier in the UK at the time ?
Marine Nationale and Royal Navy requirements would have meet there...
 
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galgot

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To get back to Lavi and NoviAvion.
I don't think both Lavi and NoviAvion could have gone into production anyway.
Not because they couldn't design it, but because their respective country aviation industry , let alone aero engine industry, wasn't developed enough . So the respective "godfathers" planes makers, US for Lavi and France for NoviAvion, helped for a while, selling some expertise up to prototypes stage in case of Lavi, but when the point of getting to production came, then strategic thinking starts :
"Hey we are helping building a competitor here, even if maybe not on this product, but we are helping building a possible competitor industry !"
And that's were it stops.
The difference with Gripen, is that Saab was already there, building jets planes for decades already. So sweden could do it alone, the airframe at least.

Now , had they gone into production, not sure how they would have done on export.
Maybe Lavi could have been sold to South American countries that later got Kfirs instead . But then these bought Kfir because it was cheap, and i don't think a Lavi would have been that cheap. More in the F-16 price range.
NoviAvion market would have been for countries that could't buy from US i think. Like Arab countries, Iraq, lybia, Egypt ?... Taking a part of Dassault's pie.
So again , in direct competition with their "godfather" foreign industries.
 
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zen

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If the resulting plane could have been significantly cheaper due to reduction in shared development costs and economies of scale by adding France, why then is Typhoon, done by four countries , not significantly cheaper than Rafale ?
More partners mean more complex programme which costs money. More partners mean more requirements e.g indigenous weapon integration. Adding in carrier operations and nuclear carriage aren't small requirement changes.

Four production lines means you don't get economies of scale in assembly.

Basically for many partner programmes to be more cost effective then most partners have to subsidize any partner which has requirement outliers (e.g carrier ops) and build on as few production lines as possible. So really some partners are just massively subsidizing others - at some point it becomes cheaper to do your own programme, or just buy off the shelf.
Btw , why wasn't UK looking for a carrier fighter too ?
Was there no willing to go back to a Catobar carrier in the UK at the time ?
Marine Nationale and Royal Navy requirements would have meet there...
Well two reasons.
1. The focus was NATO defence of Europe and UK. This was the military priority at the time, 'extra-europa' operations were a distant second.
So a Jaguar successor was the focus.

2. Admiralty had been badly scared by the process that lead to the near abandonment of all carrier capability. Only the Falklands reversed this and at quite some cost behind the scenes.

It was only after the end of the Cold War and as events in Yugoslavia took off, that figures in government started to argue for the next generation of carriers to be larger. Even then finances and the institutional focus wasn't conductive until the recovery was underway after we'd crashed out if the ERM.
Then Labour win the election and soon No.11 was delaying and delaying the decision process as long as possible.
 
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