Re: WHAT F*** Economies of F*** Scale
Humm, as much as I think this, like most F-35 related stuff, is complete utter bollocks, "economies of scale" does make a warped kinda sense in this context.
When a country can only afford 2 or 3 dozen of an "affordable, high-volume" combat aircraft, it kinda makes sense to centralize major repairs so that you don't set up a huge infrastructure that has little repairs to do.
(Of course, so far, it seems that even with low volume, F-35s keep their support crews plenty busy.)
Also, keep in mind that during a conflict away, the major repair shop @ home will not be near the front line troops and will require shipping to anyway. Plus, Italy is much closer to the Middle Eastern oilfields and Iran than the UK, innit?
Don't take this as an endorsement of the program, nor of the loss of sovereignty that an F35 purchase seems to imply in general. And, hmmm, yes, Turkey being involved at a key point makes no sense - both given their current political status and their long time enmity with Greece and tendency to veto anything Kurd-related. Giving them much to much power to dictate NATO activities.
Just that setting up major repair shops everywhere for such limited volumes may also not make sense. Though if you have Norfolk already anyway, I concur with the BS meter being off the scale.