F-X
In Wake of F-22 Ban, Japan Forging Ties with Europe (With a Warning to America)

In Wake of F-22 Ban, Japan Forging Ties with Europe (With a Warning to America)

For more than forty years, as part of an alliance with the United States, Japan was allowed access to some of the very best fighters in the world. A string of American fighters, starting with the F-86 Sabre, then the F-104 Starfighter, F-4 Phantom and finally the F-15 provided the mainstay of the Air Self...

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Japan's F-35 Sticker Shock

Japan’s F-35 Sticker Shock

It’s sticker shock in Shinjuku time. 238 million US dollars. That’s how much each Japanese F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is going to cost, including maintenance and training expenses. From the U.S. Department of Defense announcement (h/t Mike Yeo): All aircraft will be configured with the Pratt and Whitney F-135 engines, and 5 spare Pratt and...

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Problems piling up for the Japanese F-35 dream

Problems piling up for the Japanese F-35 dream

The Yomiuri has published (j) a report worrying about the British Sunday Times’ revelation that BAE Systems internal network may have been hacked by Chinese spies and critical information on the F-35 fighter may have been lost. Both the UK and the US were targets of the attack. In particular there is concern that the advanced...

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Mainichi: Japan tells U.S. it may halt F-35 purchase if prices rise

From Mainichi Daily News yesterday:

Japan tells U.S. it may halt F-35 purchase if prices rise

[...] In a letter dated Feb. 13, the ministry expressed its concern to the Pentagon over a rise in the price tag of the F-35, which is being developed by an international consortium led by U.S. aircraft maker Lockheed Martin Corp., the sources said.

The ministry also requested a review of the procurement system under a foreign military sales arrangement that allows the United States to change prices at its discretion, the sources said.

[...]

The letter was sent by Hideshi Tokuchi, chief of the ministry’s bureau of finance and equipment, and addressed to Frank Kendall, acting under secretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics.

Tokuchi said in the letter that the possibility of canceling the F-35 procurement in the event its price rises cannot be denied. If the price does go up and the matter is deliberated in parliament, it would “invite severe criticism” and “jeopardize” the F-35 procurement plan, he said. [...]

Read more at the Mainichi Daily News site

It will be a great shame if Japan cancels its orders of the F-35 due to a price range, not least because the ASDF could really do with being shot of the F-X program so that it can look ahead to the successor to the F-15Js which seem to be slowly deteriorating.

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Factlet #2: Until 2011, Japan had domestically produced fighters for 55 continuous years

This week’s factlet will come as no surprise to regular readers: until the last F2 fighter rolled off Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ production line last December, Japan had been producing fighters domestically for 55 years without interruption.

Mitsubishi has produced all of Japan’s domestically-built fighters in continuous production since the first construction began on the F86 Sabre under license in 1956. The break in production is a terrifying prospect for Mitsubishi and IHI (jet engine manufacturer), who fear a loss of skills and construction/development capability. Japan maintains these skills through research platforms such the ATD-X ‘Shinshin’, as well as through securing some measure of assembly and production through the F35 deal with Lockheed Martin.

In January 2010, Nikkei Business wrote a special feature on Japan’s defense aircraft entitled “Last Chance”. That article featured a chart depicting the domestically-developed fighter program, translated and updated below. Note that the F1 is the only fighter on the list that was domestically developed and produced. All the other fighters were produced under license from American companies.Whether this current gap bodes well for the FXX program (seeking the successor to the F15J) or not remains to be seen.

Click the image below for the full-sized chart:

Timeline of domestic fighter production in Japan

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Is F-35 the Right Choice for Japan?

Is F-35 the Right Choice for Japan?

Examining some of the perspectives that grew out of international media coverage of Japan's decision to purchase the F-35 as a replacement to its aging fleet of F-4 Phantoms.

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F-35 Officially Selected as F-X Fighter

F-35 Officially Selected as F-X Fighter

It comes as no surprise, but the F-35 will be Japan's next-generation fighter, beating out the F/A-18 Super Hornet and the Eurofighter Typhoon in a contentious decision that seems to favor the technology over time constraints.

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Official F-35 Announcement Delayed?

Following the news earlier in the week that the F-X program was all but decided in favor of the F-35, defense watchers have been waiting for the official announcement due tomorrow, Friday 16th December. According to the Shingetsu News Agency (@ShingetsuNews), this announcement has been postponed until next week pending other government business.

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F-X Selection Heading Towards F-35

F-X Selection Heading Towards F-35

Both Yomiuri and Kyodo are suggesting that the F-X selection has been whittled down to the F-35 ahead of an official announcement.

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F-X Fighter Decision Delay: English Language Troubles?

The Sankei reports on the Ministry of Defense's struggle to understand the English language proposals submitted for the F-X program

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Eurofighter out of the F-X competition

Eurofighter out of the F-X competition

The Typhoon is out of the running for the next-generation fighter competition leaving a dead heat between the US-made F/A-18 and F-35. Who will win?

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Japan Air Self Defense Force Tankers May Refuel U.S. Aircraft (Under Certain Conditions, Of Course)

Japan Air Self Defense Force Tankers May Refuel U.S. Aircraft (Under Certain Conditions, Of Course)

JASDF tankers may now refuel American aircraft during military exercises.

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