Japan chooses F-35 jet as air defence mainstay

Fantino welcomes Tokyo’s pick

A mere two days after North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-Il was pronounced dead, Japan has announced it will be buying 42 U.S.-made fighter jets to boost its air defence fleet, the BBC reports. The jets are made by American defence giant Lockheed Martin, and were chosen over the Eurofighter Typhoon and Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet. In addition to fears of regional uncertainty emanating from North Korea, Tokyo is said to be increasingly concerned about China’s military capacity. Japan has said it is heightening coastal security as a result of stepped-up Chinese naval activity in the region. The decision to rely on American-made aircraft was largely seen as a tribute to the U.S., Japan’s main security ally. Associate Minister of Defence Julian Fantino welcomed Tokyo’s choice, which, he said, “demonstrates that the F-35 is the best aircraft available to replace our aging fleets and address future threats to our sovereignty.” Canada’s purchase of 65 F-35 fighter jets, at an estimated cost of $16 billion, has been mired in controversy.

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Japan chooses F-35 jet as air defence mainstay

  1. What, no comments from the Superhornet lobbyists?

    • Waiting, waiting…..lol

      Meanwhile I think it was Reuters that mentioned South Korea will probably order 60 F-35s for themselves.

  2. Ahhh yes, the great military power that is Japan

    • Yes, they are only the fifth or sixth largest military power in the world, with 370 combat aircraft compared to Canada’s 79. What would they know?

      • Buying planes says nothing about their military judgement….we saw that in WWII.

        • I appreciate their post-WWII military judgement.  They have “for defensive use only” enshrined in their Constitution and do a pretty good job of sticking to that ideal (with the exception of some humanitarian missions which aren’t strictly defense of the territory, I suppose).  The Japanese public certainly doesn’t put up with the same sabre-rattling offensive nonsense that many other nations do.  No wonder, considering Japan’s atrocious WWII (and prior) military history.

          • It wasn’t ‘their’ judgement….that was forced on them by the Americans.

  3. Japan to pay $114 million for each F-35 fighter jet
    12:23am EST
    TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s defense ministry said on Tuesday it would pay 8.9 billion yen ($114 million) for each of Lockheed Martin’s (LMT.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) F-35 jet fighters in the initial stage of procurement.
    The per-unit cost will come to 9.9 billion yen if backup parts are included, the ministry said.
    The ministry plans to buy 42 of the radar-evading jets.(Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka; Editing by Chris Gallagher)

    What else do supporters of the Super Hornet option have to say?? At those prices we should hold out for a fleet of Star Ship Enterprise type vehicles.

  4. Sure and while we’re at it, let’s buy nuclear technology from Japan.

  5. The F-35′s operational distance (~580 NM with a full load of ~18,000 lbs of fuel) allows those planes (if and when they exist) to reach Vladivostok, the southern half of Sahkalinsk, all of South and North Korea, the eastern third of mainland China (from Naha) and Taiwan (also from Naha).  Beijing and Hong Kong are beyond the current range, though.   It also gives good overall coverage over the western Pacific, including about half of the South China Sea.  I’m not sure what the ranges on the other aircraft are, but this range certainly suits Japan’s defense needs.  As most of us know, Japan’s armed forces are strictly defensive; their constitution doesn’t allow overseas intervention except in pure humanitarian missions, and the Japanese people have shown no desire to change that.  Unlike some other countries, Japan’s military is actually quite good at following their constitution.

    Anyway, in Canada, the F-35′s range leaves our air forces with a requirement of refuelling to patrol the arctic, even if the craft are stationed in Cold Lake or Goose Bay.  Which is probably ok, since the Red Dawn fantasy used by Peter MacKay and Julian Fantino to justify this purchase is just that: a fantasy.  As I said before, we can defend against a fantasy with another fantasy:  a brigade of cloned Swayzes.

    That said, the F-35′s do probably have enough range to defend against an invasion from our southern border and most of our more densely populated coastal areas, given the array of Air Force bases across the country.

    I will note that none of this helps explain why the government didn’t handle this through a transparent tendering process.  Superhornet lobbyists.  Heh.  Some people are projecting.

    • My prediction is F-35s will be for overseas deployment, and at some point (perhaps a decade from now) a future government will point out the need for a longer range domestic fighter jet, as the F-35 isn’t suited for patrolling an area as sparse and large as northern Canada and they were never purchased for this reason anyway.

      This of course depends on whether the F-35s are delivered by then…

  6. Do they make a mini version of the F-35?  Or does it just come with a phone book on the front seat?

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