Boeing responds to Japanese fighter request with F/A-18E bid

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Japan's F-X fighter contest is moving into its next phase, with a US proposal based on the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet having been tabled on 26 September.

"Boeing and the US Navy have delivered a proposal to the government of Japan offering the advanced F/A-18E Super Hornet Block II," the US-based manufacturer said.

Boeing is touting the Super Hornet's multi-role capabilities as a potential discriminator in the F-X contest.

Chris Chadwick, president of the airframer's military aircraft division, cited the Super Hornet's "proven operational capability to seamlessly conduct air dominance or precision strike missions across the combined air, ground, maritime and electronic battlespace".

 
© US Navy

The company has branded its rivals as "specialising in either air-to-air or air-to-ground operations".

Japan also issued a request for proposals on the Eurofighter Typhoon, and to Lockheed Martin for the F-35 in mid-April. BAE Systems has responded on behalf of the four-nation Eurofighter consortium.

Boeing Japan president Mike Denton said the company can provide Tokyo with "guaranteed pricing and a guaranteed delivery timeline" to replace the Japan Air Self-Defence Force's McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantoms.

Japan is being eyed as a possible second export customer for the Block II Super Hornet.

Boeing has already sold 24 two-seat examples to the Royal Australian Air Force, and will deliver the last four of these to Amberley air base in Queensland late this year.