Lockheed Martin and the US Air Force have responded to a Japanese request for proposals for a next-generation F-X fighter with a bid using the F-35 Lightning II.

Facing competition from the Boeing F/A-18E Super Hornet Block II and Eurofighter Typhoon, Lockheed is promoting the F-35 as representing "the pinnacle of fighter aircraft development".

"We are confident that F-35 delivers unmatched cost-effective capability for Japan's defence, now and well into the future," said Lockheed campaign director John Balderston. "We are committed to an enduring F-35 partnership with Japanese industry to deliver F-35's transformational fifth-generation capability for Japan's long-term national security."

F-35 pair
 © Lockheed Martin

To replace the Japan Air Self-Defence Force's McDonnell Douglas/Mitsubishi Heavy Industries F-4 Phantoms, the F-X contest is advancing after Tokyo issued a request for proposals in mid-April. This came after it abandoned previous hopes of persuading the US government to approve the international sale of Lockheed's F-22A Raptor air dominance fighter.

Flightglobal's MiliCAS database lists Japan as having an active fleet of 90 F-4s, including 14 reconnaissance-configured examples.

Source: Flight International