Both Yomiuri and Kyodo are suggesting that the F-X selection has been whittled down to the F-35 ahead of an official announcement. Today’s Yomiuri article notes the role of the US decision to allow Japanese industry into the development and manufacture of the F-35 (an exceptional case in that Japan was not a member nation of the F-35 development consortium), thus allowing Japanese industry to keep the necessary know-how and skills for future fighter development. It also highlights the utility of its stealth capabilities and information-sharing network abilities.
The official decision will be announced on the 16th, but it seems that the F-35, despite the problems it has had with staying on schedule, will be Japan’s replacement of the F-4 Phantom. It is not a particularly surprising outcome given the desires of the Air Self-Defense Force staff, who were shot down by the US on purchasing the F-22.
A former contributor to World Intelligence (Japan Military Review), James Simpson joined Japan Security Watch in 2011, migrating with his blog Defending Japan. He has a Masters in Security Studies from Aberystwyth University and is currently living in Kawasaki, Japan.
His primary interests include the so-called 'normalization' of Japanese security (i.e. militarization), and the political impact of the abduction issue with North Korea.
James Simpson has 254 post(s) on Japan Security Watch