via Alert 5.

Boeing Co said it is willing to outsource some production of its F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter planes to Japanese firms if the Japanese government decides to buy them as the country’s next mainstay fighter aircraft. (Link)

That’s real nice. Methinks however that if the Japanese hold out a bit, the deal could get a little sweeter, especially when rumors float around that the Danes are considering bolting from the F-35 program in favor of the Super Hornet. How much Boeing would be willing to let the Japanese do on their own would probably be contingent on how much other work it can pick up F-35 defectors.

Here’s another key line:

The world’s second-largest defense contractor said it would be able to deliver up to 10 Super Hornets to Japan in 2015 if the government decides to buy them this year.

So, say Japan says yes to the Super Hornet in 2010. The requirement is for 40-60 planes, with that variation likely determined by cost. The Super Hornet is cheap compared to the F-35, which makes a 60 plane buy more likely if the Japanese choose Hornets. Japan then gets five planes in 2015, and shortly thereafter any license production in Japan could be producing even more planes. Say they co-produce with Boeing 12 planes a year from 2016 on.  That means that by 2020, they could have the entire buy in service. That’s right around the earliest they could expect to get their first F-35s. The absolute earliest.

Then, in 2020, they shift production to the ATD-X to replace the F-15J, assuming rumors that the ATD-X can produce an actual combat aircraft in ten years to be true.

See? Easy, peasy…you know.

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A contributor and editor at the blog War Is Boring, Kyle Mizokami started Japan Security Watch in 2010 to further understand Japan's defenses and security policy.
Kyle Mizokami has 536 post(s) on Japan Security Watch