Among all the words and comment about the British government's brave or embarrassing (or both, take your pick) U-turn on what version of America's F35 stealth fighter would fly from the Royal Navy's new aircraft carriers, few have mentioned the implications for UK-French defence cooperation.
This is what the coalition government stated in its much-heralded strategic and security defence review (SDSR) in October 2010. Referring to its predecessor's decision to buy the STOVL jump-jet version of the F35 rather than the conventional “cats and traps” version - where the aircraft takes off with the help of a catapult and lands with the help of an arrester gear - Labour had "committed to carriers that would have been unable to work properly with our closest military allies".
The SDSR added: "We will fit a catapult to the operational carrier to enable it to fly a version of the Joint Strike Fighter with a longer range and able to carry more weapons". It continued: "Crucially, that will allow our carrier to operate in tandem with the US and French navies, and for American and French aircraft to operate from our carrier and vice versa".
The following month, November 2010, David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy signed a UK-French defence treaty proposing a "UK-French integrated carrier strike group", with the prospect of French Rafale aircraft flying off the new British carrier, the Prince of Wales, and British-owned US Joint Strike Fighters flying off the Charles de Gaulle.
That is now, if I may use the expression, pie in the sky.