United States Department of State approved the sale of 105 F-35Joint Strike Fighter aircraft and related equipment to Japan via the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) channel, at an estimated cost of $23.11 billion. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) submitted the necessary certificate notifying Congress of this sale.
The contract with an estimated cost of $23.11 billion (estimated costs reported by DSCA indicate maximum, contract costs generally lower) includes:
- F-35A Conventional TakeOff and Landing (CTOL) aircraft (63)
- F-35B Short Take-Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) aircraft (42)
- Pratt and Whitney F135 engines (110)
Also included are Electronic Warfare Systems; Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence/Communications, Navigation and Identification; Autonomic Logistics Global Support System, Autonomic Logistics Information System; Flight Mission Trainer; Weapons Employment Capability, and other Subsystems, Features, and Capabilities; F-35 unique infrared flares; reprogramming center access and F-35 Performance Based Logistics; software development/integration; flight test instrumentation; aircraft ferry and tanker support; spare and repair parts; support equipment, tools and test equipment; technical data and publications; personnel training and training equipment; U.S. Government and contractor engineering, technical, and logistics support services; and other related elements of logistics support.
After the request is approved, Japan will enter into agreement with Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company, Fort Worth, Texas; and Pratt and Whitney Military Engines, East Hartford, Connecticut.
Along with Israel, South Korea, Belgium and Poland, Japan is one of the customers ordering the F-35 via FMS as well as the countries with the highest number of F-35 orders.
Japan’s 2020/2021 defense budget has reached a high level of $ 50.3 billion due to the threats emanating from North Korea and China. In addition, Japan plans to boost its deterrence by deploying F-35B-type STOVL aircraft into Izumo-class “helicopter destroyers”. With this capability, Lacking aircraft carrier in the inventory, Japan will have achieved a serious power projection.
Japan’s Stealth Fighter Aircraft Project
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Japan’s leading defense industry company, will lead an agreement that is expected to exceed $ 40 billion in value. The company did not offer a design for the next-generation fighter, but in 2016 it developed X-2, a “stealth” aircraft design, for Japan.
One of the sources deemed to be knowledgable about stated that he aircraft, which will be called F-3 or F-X, had performed well in the tests carried out so far. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries company spokesperson also added that the company would work under the program that the government will monitor, and said it would lead the government’s development program.
The Japanese Air Self Defense Forces operate about 200 Boeing F-15 aircraft and prepares to replace the fleets of F-4 aircraft, which has been in service for decades, with F-35s. The F-3 will replace F-2, a variant of the F-16 Fighting Falcon, produced jointly by Mitsubishi Heavy and Lockheed Martin more than 20 years ago.