Interesting F-22 news out of Japan

Maybe the Yomiuri Shinbum knows something we don’t? The newspaper’s sources in Tokyo reported on Saturday that Japan has dropped plans to buy the F-22 to replace F-15s. Why? Because the Obama Administration is likely to halt production of the F-22, according to the Japanese newspaper.

I think their sources may be mistaken about the likelihood of the F-22′s imminent demise, but I don’t doubt that Japan’s air force is looking at other fighters to replace the F-15.

Govt likely to drop plan to procure F-22

The government likely will drop its plan to introduce the U.S.-madeF-22 Raptor stealth fighter to replace its aging F-15 fleet, and willinstead concentrate on three other potential candidates, governmentsources said Saturday.

The moves to abandon efforts to acquire the cutting-edge F-22 followsigns that the incoming U.S. administration of President-elect BarackObama is leaning toward curbing or even halting production of theaircraft, the sources said.

According to the sources, the replacement candidates are theEurofighter Typhoon, jointly developed by North Atlantic TreatyOrganization members Britain, Italy, Spain and Germany; the F-35Lightning II produced by the United States, Britain and othercountries; and the F-15FX of the United States.

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5 Responses to Interesting F-22 news out of Japan

  1. ELP 29 December, 2008 at 3:24 am #

    Well, they can look at the F-35 all they want. The problem with that as an answer for Japan are many:

    -The F-35 is a strike aircraft with some air to air ability that is optimized for low and medium altitude performance. The jet was not designed to be an interceptor. Even the initial design requirement of the F-35 doesn’t mate up between the 3 major U.S. services. That is: USAF wanting some kind of cheap bomb truck to replace the F-16. The USN wanting some kind of first day of the war stealth aircraft which is questionable given the current locked in design to recover some kind of street cred from the A-12 fiasco. Also remember when asked what they wanted in a Joint Strike Fighter early on, the USN said: Two engines, Two aircrew and 1000 mile strike radius. Well that is at least 2 out of 3 for the Super Hornet, especially the Block II which has avionics inspired by what would have been in the Boeing Joint Strike Fighter had it won the original JSF competition. Of course hurting the F-35 design is the commonality thing with the USMC dragging everyone else down just to do STOVL.

    -F-35 doesn’t fit into any kind of economic home license build that Japan always goes for. For example: Mitsubishi assembled F-15s.

    -Which leads to Japan never going for the economic model of the F-35 that is dependent on either being a team partner. (Unlikely), or a stock F-35 FMS customer. (Just as unlikely).

    Any way you cut it, the F-35 is a poor fit for the defense of Japan.

  2. Starviking 29 December, 2008 at 1:23 pm #

    The article goes on to mention that Japan would have to get an ‘understanding’ from the US to buy the Typhoon…

    To be honest, this article may be more of a face-saving routine by the Japanese Government. The Japanese Defense Forces have a poor reputation for keeping secrets confidential – there was a big scandal over leaked AEGIS information a few years back. Couple that with the Ultra-Nationalist essay that the head of the ASDF wrote a few months back and it’s pretty clear that the US are not going to be sharing the secrets of the F-22 with Japan.

  3. Royce 29 December, 2008 at 1:31 pm #

    I thought the plan was to replace the F-4 fleet on air defense missions with new aircraft. It’s also odd that the reason for dropping F-22 plans isn’t “because the U.S. Congress won’t allow export of the aircraft.”

  4. Mike 29 December, 2008 at 3:11 pm #

    Royce wrote:
    “It’s also odd that the reason for dropping F-22 plans isn’t “because the U.S. Congress won’t allow export of the aircraft.”

    It’s said that distance lends perspective. Maybe the Japanese, from across the Pacific, can see quite clearly the total corruption of the US Congress and feel that if the US defense community wanted them to have F-22′s then it could be made to happen simply by crossing the right palms.

    Or maybe that’s just me projecting my complete contempt for our legislature onto the Japanese.

  5. Starviking 30 December, 2008 at 3:22 am #


    Another point against the F-35 is that even if it performs well-enough in the air defence role, it is still mainly a strike fighter. Japan’s official ‘defence’ orientation and ‘strike’ do not go well together. An F-35 purchase could easily find itself embroiled in internal politicking. The F-15 and Eurofighter would be less susceptible to those charges.

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