In This Review

Arms Deal: The Selling of the F-16

Arms Deal: The Selling of the F-16
By Ingemar Dörfer
287 pp, Praeger, 1983

The decision of Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands and Norway in 1975 to purchase 348 F-16s from the United States, rather than the Dassault Mirage F-1 or the Swedish Viggen, was hailed at the time as the "arms deal of the century." This carefully written yet sprightly book must now rank as the most extensive study to date of a single international arms sale. The author, a Swede conversant with defense technology and policy, looks at the decision-making process in each of the European capitals as well as the tactics of the companies (including Northrop versus General Dynamics before the latter was chosen). "High" politics-the French arguing that a European aircraft must be chosen-and "low" politics, e.g., personal contacts and bribes, are examined in this impressive, unpolemical work. In the end it was simple: the clearly superior aircraft won.