Years of Mutantfrog Lobbying Finally Successful!

U.S.-Japan dance on F-22 continues

U.S. defense officials are preparing a version of the stealth F-22 Raptor that Japan has expressed strong interest in buying. While the Department of Defense is working to design an export version of the Raptor, U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, this week sent a letter to Japanese Ambassador the United States Ichiro Fujisaki saying that the F-22 would likely carry a price tag of $290 million. Japan has made it known it would like to buy 40 F-22s, made by Lockheed Martin and Boeing, so the potential value of the deal is more than $11 billion…

It has taken some time for U.S. and Japanese negotiators to get a deal together for the F-22. And it will take several years of development to get an export version off the ground since there is a large amount of sensitive technology that U.S. officials believe needs protection. Aviation Week estimated it would be 2017 before delivery of the first aircraft to the Japanese air self-defense force.

Japanese defense officials are reportedly looking at other aircraft, including Lockheed’s F-35 and the Eurofighter Typhoon, which is manufactured by a consortium of Alenia Aeronautica, BAE Systems and EADS. Neither have all the stealth capabilities of the Raptor, making them substantially less expensive. The Typhoon is estimated to be about $105 million per plane.

5 thoughts on “Years of Mutantfrog Lobbying Finally Successful!”

  1. Hoozah! And the article is even about Japan too. Give that reporter a cigar.

  2. I’m surprised it took so long to agree to sell these to Japan. I understand that the craft are extremely high tech and top secret but there is no closer ally than Japan. And why lose sales and jobs to European companies.

  3. Personally I think the F-22, even in a “less super-secret” version, is ridiculous overkill for the JASDF. The F-22 is a fantastic aircraft, but it’s raison d’etre is, as an F-22 pilot I know on another board put it, “to kick down the door and take complete control of the enemy’s airspace”. Does the JASDF, with a mission of defending Japan’s airspace, need a plane that was designed to take the fight to the enemy and beat them in their own airspace?

    The F-35, while another very promising aircraft, is also not really what Japan is looking for as the JASDF has made clear they are looking for a replacement for the F-15J in the air superiority fighter role. The F-35 is not that plane, it is a light strike fighter designed to replace F-16s, Harriers and Legacy F/A-18s. Plus, do you really want to buy a plane that is 100% dependent on computers and flight software when the seller won’t supply the source code to that software? Probably not a good idea, and it is one of the problems that came close to sinking Australia’s commitment to the F-35.

    Still, the JASDF will almost certainly end up buying a stripped-down F-22 if it gets offered*, as they keep claiming that there would be “interoperability issues” if the JASDF bought non-US or non-joint-US-and-Japan-developed aircraft like the F-2. Which of course is complete bollocks, Europe has been developing and operating its own weapons systems for decades and operating them alongside US types with no problems. Recently, Rafales have been flawlessly operated off US CVNs.

    Not that the powers that be would ever ask my opinion, but I think when you consider the role of the JASDF and the operating environment, the Gripen would be about a perfect match. Not to mention that the JASDF could get four Gripens for the projected cost of one “dumbed down” F-22.

  4. “I’m surprised it took so long to agree to sell these to Japan.”

    That’s not happening yet,I’m afraid.Obama can still use veto for the decison of the both houses and I think he will for the sake of Gates.

    “Does the JASDF, with a mission of defending Japan’s airspace, need a plane that was designed to take the fight to the enemy and beat them in their own airspace?”

    It has always been with JASDF to follow the foot step of big sister which is USAF.
    Almost all but one exception(F-104)JASDF has been choosing the main fighter from what has been used as the work horse of USAF.Selecting F-22 was natural from this tradition.
    Plus F-35 will be operational sometime in 2013 and then it will be on sales to the partner nations of JSF project of which Japan isn’t part of.

    Anyway,Japan probably needs a fighter that can compete one of the world’s best and the most powerful airforces in the world with limited bumber of aircraft.MoD will stick to F-22.Buying European crafts out of question.

  5. 2017!? That means they won’t make it here in time to guard the Tokyo Olympic Games.

    Wait, what I am talking about? There won’t be any Tokyo Olympic Games…

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