Japan likely to drop plan to buy F-22 fighters

TOKYO —

Japan is likely to drop its attempts to buy state-of-the-art U.S. F-22 Raptor stealth fighter planes since it expects the United States to stop producing them, a newspaper reported on Sunday.

The Japanese government had been trying to persuade the United States to sell it F-22 Raptors to replace its own aging F-15 fleet, despite Washington’s reluctance.

Tokyo, however, is now abandoning the plan amid signs that President-elect Barack Obama’s new administration may halt production of the aircraft, the Daily Yomiuri said, quoting government sources.

“We have a firm impression that its production likely would be halted,” a high-ranking official at the defense ministry was quoted by the daily as saying.

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, reappointed to stay in the post under Obama, has said publicly that he favors halting production of the F-22.

Washington is also said to be skeptical about continuing production of the expensive planes due to the financial crisis and declining tax revenues.

U.S. law prohibits export of Raptors as Congress remains anxious over the possible leaking of details of the Raptor’s state-of-the-art technology. They are built to evade radar detection at supersonic speeds.

Japan’s possible alternatives are the Eurofighter Typhoon, jointly developed by NATO members Britain, Italy, Spain and Germany, said the English version of the Yomiuri Shimbun.

Among other candidates are the U.S. fighter F-15FX and the F-35 Lightning II, produced by the United States, Britain and other countries, it reported.

Some ministry officials favor the F-35, a high-performance fighter with sophisticated bombing capabilities, but this plane has not even been deployed so far by U.S. forces, the daily said.

Japan has been officially pacifist since its defeat in World War II but has one of the world’s largest defense budgets and is gradually expanding its military role.

Wire reports

  • 0

    KumaNiku

    Good. he US did allow export of the F22 (Which they won't) it would be an 'export' version with all the stuff that makes it an excellent fighter toned down or taken out, and then the JASDF would be left with essentially a upgraded F15 rather than a whole new platform.

    In my opinion, there are only 2 real contenders for a new pane for the JASDF - the Typhoon and the F35 which, despite some naysayers who don't have all the facts or are biased against it, is shaping up to be the penultimate 5th Generation multirole fighter, more advanced than anything the Russians or Chinese can produce into the forseeable future.

    Now, cue the 'Russian/Chinese planes are superior' crowd....

  • 0

    apecNetworks

    Just a peculiar note.....

    "U.S. law prohibits export of Raptors as Congress remains anxious over the possible leaking of details of the Raptor’s state-of-the-art technology."

    What does that imply if Congress approves the sale of the F35 to JASDF?

  • 0

    apecNetworks

    Addendum:

    Though I do get considerable pressure discussing fighters on JT, I still will give an analysis to the SDF. The SDF should be procuring a 4th Generation test platform where they can add their own technologies w/out severe restrictions/technology transfer strings. The SDF would benefit in the long term by establishing their own 5th Generation technologies into their flagship fighter PERIOD

  • 0

    mareo2

    From a japanese point of view, I think that is time to start to develop our own japanese fighter and make plans for export it. More jobs and more business.

  • 0

    techall

    Mareo2: The Japanese version of the F-15J is in fact a Mitsubishi Heavy Industries/Boing joing developed aircraft.

  • 0

    mareo2

    No ofense to Mitsubishi, but that is just an adapted US fighter and I think that we need something that we can export without asking to the US congress if is ok sell it to x country, after all they dont wanted to sell the F-22 to J.

  • 0

    proxy

    I think Japan has enough experience building airframes to produce its own fighters but Japan has chosen not to because it would be a threat. Buy American weapons and sell them cars, lets get some trade going.

  • 0

    USARonin

    "Japan has been officially pacifist since its defeat in World War II..."

    This is true, Article 9 and all that.

    Interestingly, the Japanese government indicated to the US in the Sixties that they wanted the US to intervene with nuclear weapons should China become aggressive towards them.

    If we run out of the F-22s, maybe we have something else in our inventory that would interest them. So far Obama's been hawk-like since he got elected so the F-22 show may just go on. His selection of Gates in this article is just one of several proofs of that.

  • 0

    mindovermatter

    proxy

    I think Japan has enough experience building airframes to produce its own fighters but Japan has chosen not to because it would be a threat. Buy American weapons and sell them cars, lets get some trade going.

    It sure isn't because Japan doesn't want to develop their own fighters, they'd love nothing more than to cut all tech ties with the U.S. is that regard, it's because they're just not there in terms of capability, infrastructure, engineering and R and D....

    These aren't cars, they can't just bim ban boom and they've got a production live rolling, this stuff takes years and years to engineer, test and develop. Don't forget the U.S. has been pouring billions and billions of dollars down that R and D pipe for years and years. What they have now, is basically what they've acquired through licenses, which is why they were ecstatic about Boeing signing that "Jim Dandy" of a deal with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to build the wing structures for the 787....

    They get years and years of advanced technology for a song... All they have to do is buy a few 787's and the Technology's theirs (Not really but are you going to tell me they're not going to use it... Get Real!)

  • 0

    itcher74

    US should give them to Japan. USA is a bankrupt country which cannot pay back it´s debt it only is fair of US to pay back some of its debts in products instead of the useless products which they try to sell to Japan such as American cars,

  • 0

    Triumvere

    USARonin,

    Gates wants to can the F22 and divert the $$$ somewhere else. I doubt reappointing him bodes well for the F22's future.

  • 0

    Papawhale

    why does Japan need bigger and deadlier warplanes? You really want to be like the USA? Wow...

  • 0

    itcher74

    why does Japan need bigger and deadlier warplanes? You really want to be like the USA? Wow...

    US needs to pay back it´s debt. It is better to get the debt back in useless products than useless money.

  • 0

    USARonin

    Mr. Triumvere, Gates is more hawk than dove. That's why Obama picked him. I'm hopin' Gates will do the right thing, even if it doesn't involve this particular aircraft.

  • 0

    UnagiDon

    why does Japan need bigger and deadlier warplanes?

    To protect Japan against the bigger and deadlier planes being built and bought by some of the nasties in Japan's neighborhood, esp. China and Russia.

  • 0

    UnagiDon

    Japan has enough experience building airframes to produce its own fighters but Japan has chosen not to because it would be a threat.

    Japan does produce its own fighters, but these are either licensed F-15s (as others have noted) or an improved version of the F-16 called the F-2. Japan has also started building its own domestically developed maritime patrol (P-X) and cargo (C-X) aircraft, as reducing reliance on the US exports is a good idea, as the effort to get the F-22 shows.

    Japan is developing its own stealth aircraft but right now is only researching a technology demonstrator to be built by MHI called the ATD-X which may fly by 2015, which this article didn't mention.

    In the interim, maybe they will buy Typhoons. They should, since that is a much closer type of aircraft to the F-22 (air superiority) than the F-35. The F-35 may be stealthy, but it is too mult-purpose for Japan. Japan needs a plane to intercept and shoot down aircraft (or missiles) far from Japan, not a tactical support aircraft like the F-35. The F-35 will also probably cost too much and will come with the US' onerous export restrictions - bad idea.

  • 0

    DXXJP

    A friend of mine builds these, well composit components. Hes been crying about all the over time he has. Wonder whats really going on.

  • 0

    BlackFlag

    can't they just put wings on that Honda robot thingy?

  • 0

    kenchan

    I expect that Typhoon will be sold cheaply to japan as the european consortium really needs to sell outside of their own countries who are struggling to fulfill their own quotas. Its a shame I left BAES back in 2006...I could have helped them market over in Japan.

    As for all the discussions on Japan building their own jet fighter...sorry but its not going to happen for a long time...if ever...especially in light of the current economic situation. The amount of time and money required to develop a national fighter is only possible when the poloitical situation allows such huge domestic investment to be approved by politicians. Outside of the US where they have justified and used their military might in spreading their global influence, since the end of the cold war, no other single country has enough justification the invest in developing new fighter jet.

    ....to be honest, the Japanese should really look into the Gripen....a much forgotten multirole fighter.....if the typhoon didn't exist and had the political influence to block/restrain the marketing of the gripen then that would have been one of the most successful fighters ever.

  • 0

    kenjinakasone

    i wonder why the U.S. is refusing to sell the F-22's...

    despite all the hubris surrounding this aircraft, one has to consider what present advances in radar technology has occurred during the interim.

  • 0

    NeoJamal

    ....to be honest, the Japanese should really look into the Gripen....a much forgotten multirole fighter.....if the typhoon didn't exist and had the political influence to block/restrain the marketing of the gripen then that would have been one of the most successful fighters ever.

    If Japan needs multirole then F-35 is clearly the more plausible choice, not just because it's the product of its master.

    It's V/STOL capability makes it outstanding to serve existing flat deck Helicopter destroyers (DDHs) that are <20,000 metric tonnes. The launching of the Hyuga proved that, ships of such displacement size and lack of any obvious facilities to launch fixed wing aircraft can limbo beneath pacifist sentiment and constitutional bars back home while any aircraft carrier built for the purpose of servicing fixed-wing aircraft could not.

    Also its vertcical take-off and landing feature allows the aircraft to be hidden and launched from Japan's dense bushes in the mountains and effectively escape first strikes against known Japanese airfields. This strategy goes back to the 60s in Europe, where NATO estimated that 70% of Allied airfields in West Germany could be neutralised in the event of a Soviet first strike. So they employed the British built Harrier jumpjets to be placed in various un-disclosed locations in the Black Forest so that the Allies can wage an effective counterattack against invading Soviet grounds units.

  • 0

    KumaNiku

    ....to be honest, the Japanese should really look into the Gripen....a much forgotten multirole fighter.....if the typhoon didn't exist and had the political influence to block/restrain the marketing of the gripen then that would have been one of the most successful fighters ever.

    The Gripen is an unproven 4th Generation fighter with very limited growth potential. Considering that Sweden is the only other major operator, it would be a strategic orphan, difficult and expensive to improve. The same could be said for the F22 (from what I understand, the USAF is having difficulty keeping up with thier own spares/parts requirements for what is still less than half a projected fleet of the F22) Mind you, the F2 was a classic case of unnecessary over-overdevelopment - delayed and far more expensive than it should have been.

    Perhaps the biggest advantage of the F35 is that it is a multinational project - there is or will be no shortage of parts, development and upgrades throughout its life. Also, I personally predict that the will be extremely hard to match in Air to Air Combat - remember that modern air warfare is not twist and turn knife fights like WW2 or Top Gun - the advantages go to those with superior detection, intelligence, networking, visability (radar, etc.) which the F35 has in spades in almost all other planes flying today, or indeed will fly into the forseeable future.

    Another advantage of the F35 for Japan will be the economy of scale - if Japan is content with procuring rather than producing them themselves.

    Ultimately, Japan needs to look at what it needs - rather than what is flashy and new. Producing its own plane will be expensive and pointless unless constitutional restrictions are changed. Even then, how many export customers would Japan have considering that they would be competing with the Europeans, Americans, Chinese, Russians.......

    One more thing, putting small numbers of F35Bs (the VSTOL variant) on DDHs is pointless - you need at least a wing (12 or more Aircraft) for them to be effective, taking into account operation tempo and coverage.

    /nerd rant off

  • 0

    apecNetworks

    The "keypoint" in the SDF procurement of a new/replacement fighter is the degree of "ownership". It would be in the SDF's interest to procure a 4th Generation fighter free and clear, rather than a 5th Generation fighter w/ numerous conditions placed on usage to render it partly owned by the seller. A 4th Generation that can be modified in anyway, and to be used as Japan sees fit is important b/c the special conditions of Article 9.

  • 0

    NeoJamal

    One more thing, putting small numbers of F35Bs (the VSTOL variant) on DDHs is pointless - you need at least a wing (12 or more Aircraft) for them to be effective, taking into account operation tempo and coverage.

    Multiple DDH in fotilla

  • 0

    KumaNiku

    Multiple DDH in fotilla

    Why have a flotilla when you can have 1 ship (a carrier or an LSD)? Japan doesn't need Nimitz size carriers (historical precedents notwithstanding) - perhaps something the size of the Pincipe de Asturias or Invincible, if thier only role is self defence. Anything bigger is for power projection. In fact, if it is only for self defence, why have seaborne fighters at all?

  • 0

    itcher74

    US is going bankrupt because of their millitary spendings and this is having consequences for their commercial industry such as cars and electronics. Instead of borrowing money from Japan US should commercialize the millitary industry develop it into commercial products within the US in order to help end the American trade deficit which is making US go bankrupt.

  • 0

    KumaNiku

    US is going bankrupt because of their millitary spendings and this is having consequences for their commercial industry such as cars and electronics. Instead of borrowing money from Japan US should commercialize the millitary industry develop it into commercial products within the US in order to help end the American trade deficit which is making US go bankrupt.

    Commercializing the arms industry will makes things far worse. Arms is a non returning industry - that is, arms are produced for non economic reasons. The same materials that are used to produce weapons could also be used to produce for example, trucks which then can carry goods for commerce.

    As for the US going bankrupt, it is not due to military spending alone - there are many other factors at play. Besides, producing more doesn't mean actually selling more, which is what the US needs to do.

    Defence/Military spending is about Military needs, not economic ones (or should be, rather).

  • 0

    mareo2

    I rather want to see the LDP expend trillions of yens in a J fighter that can provide a good cost-quality ratio to potential buyers, than pouring trillions in concrete that no one need. So I think that J can make a good deal by adopt the Grippen and further develop the cost efficence concept without start from point zero.

  • 0

    itcher74

    Commercializing the arms industry will makes things far worse. Arms is a non returning industry - that is, arms are produced for non economic reasons. The same materials that are used to produce weapons could also be used to produce for example, trucks which then can carry goods for commerce. As for the US going bankrupt, it is not due to military spending alone - there are many other factors at play. Besides, producing more doesn't mean actually selling more, which is what the US needs to do. Defence/Military spending is about Military needs, not economic ones (or should be, rather).

    What I am trying to say is that since US has advanced military technology it would be better to use some of that on comercial technology and try to sell it. For instance the US military technology can be used on American cars and they can try to sell it because now US has to borrow money from other countries and the country is going bankrupt due to huge trade defecits and loans which they can´t pay back. US also needs to borrow money in order to maintain their military complex. In other words the US military is not sustainable for the US economy.

  • 0

    KumaNiku

    I rather want to see the LDP expend trillions of yens in a J fighter that can provide a good cost-quality ratio to potential buyers, than pouring trillions in concrete that no one need. So I think that J can make a good deal by adopt the Grippen and further develop the cost efficence concept without start from point zero.

    That's all well and good, but there are far better platforms than the Gripen such as the F35, Typhoon or even the Rafale. Why would Japan want to become an arms exporter anyway? The market for that is far too crowded already and Japan is not well placed to become part of it. Japan should look to its own needs before even thinking about exporting arms.

    itcher74 - I understand what you are saying, and I agree to a point - but placing the all the blame on the 'military industrial complex' of the USA for the current economic woes does not do the issue justice at all.

    Again, the F35 is the best option for Japan in my humble opinion. And no - I don't work for LockMart.

  • 0

    MikeBarrymore

    The fact is Japan is totally skint and things will get worse. They've got America to babysit for them anyway the poor darlings. Tee Hee!

  • 0

    mareo2

    That's all well and good, but there are far better platforms than the Gripen such as the F35, Typhoon or even the Rafale. Why would Japan want to become an arms exporter anyway? The market for that is far too crowded already and Japan is not well placed to become part of it. Japan should look to its own needs before even thinking about exporting arms.

    Because is cheaper to buy and operate, but the most important point is that there is less problems with technology transference and licenses. Try to compete with the USA or EU in performance is pointless, most countries dont need so much power and even the people that need that, most of them dont have the money. If J can slowly learn to make one with the best cost-efficience ratio we can export it. Worst case, we stimulated domestic comsuption like the Rafale.

  • 0

    sharky1

    It's not like the US ever told Japan that they could buy the F-22's anyway. F-22's are now gen 5.5 with their recent upgrades, and I wouldn't want anyone knowing how many I had, and whether or not I was still producing them.

  • 0

    OssanAmerica

    why does Japan need bigger and deadlier warplanes? You really want to be >like the USA? Wow...

    Actually it' BECAUSE Japan (along wth many other countries) don't want to be like the USA that they need less quantity but more quality. Any nation politicially and/or geographically squeezed between the great military powers of the USA, Russia and China needs a high quality defense system. Something that will hold off the attackers until the powerful ally will come to your aid. In quantity they could never compete. Bear in mind also that the 3 great military powers have enormous offensive capabilities, while Japan has none at all.

  • 0

    KumaNiku

    Because is cheaper to buy and operate, but the most important point is that there is less problems with technology transference and licenses

    It would appear that way, but if you define 'cheaper' in terms of the role requirements, lifespan, development potential and capability, the Gripen is not a good choice. It was developed as modern lightweight 'budget' fighter, but since its inception, the Gripen has been overtaken by technology, new requirements and international projects (see Sweden's whining over the Norwegian's choice of the F35 over the Gripen). As a result, the Gripen has had no export success, despite agressive marketing. In the end, it results in a more expensive plane with further limited potential.

    As for the F22 - it is a superb plane, no question. However, it is not right for Japan. If Japan wants to be economical, it will need to go for few platforms - the F22 is a Air to Air fighter, but having just F22s will leave a capability gap in the JASDF, hence my championing of the F35 as the all round multirole solution for Japan.

  • 0

    apecNetworks

    It's a buyers market and it may be time for Japan to look around at what is available and find out what kind of contractual obligations exists on the purchase of a fighter. As courtesy, SDF should buy 5-10 F35, if for no other reason as to test it's capabilities. It is the future flagship that the SDF needs to concentrate on. Some considerations is needed to see the degree of latitude the various purchase contracts limits or allows. Second, how much of the Japanese industrial capability can modify the fighter - I believe SDF can take a 4th Generation and modify eventually to emulate a 5th Generation - it would compliment the industrial capabilities. Also, the actual personal relationship between the two parties need to be compared w/ others - if a favor is needed, would the other party offer it or would they deal w/ it. From my research, if the Boeing multirole fighter was offered, it would be preferable to the F35 since Japan had imput into the manufacture of the prototype and had strong, amicable relations w/ people there. The Boeing prototype is the fighter Japan should negotiate. Soooo many options, the SDF needs to go shopping and to discuss w/ regional allies on their opinions of various fighters - example: the Royal Thai Air Force are familiar w/ the Grippen, so should discuss it w/ them. New century, a new platform.

  • 0

    apecNetworks

    As far as the "best" deal for the JASDF, they know where I stand: It's politically not viable.

  • 0

    KumaNiku

    Also, the actual personal relationship between the two parties need to be compared w/ others - if a favor is needed, would the other party offer it or would they deal w/ it. From my research, if the Boeing multirole fighter was offered, it would be preferable to the F35 since Japan had imput into the manufacture of the prototype and had strong, amicable relations w/ people there. The Boeing prototype is the fighter Japan should negotiate. Soooo many options, the SDF needs to go shopping and to discuss w/ regional allies on their opinions of various fighters - example: the Royal Thai Air Force are familiar w/ the Grippen, so should discuss it w/ them. New century, a new platform.

    Why would Japan want to be the sole user of something that isn't past or going past the prototype stage? If they were going to do that, they may as well start from scratch and develop and build their own - then, at least they would own the development and things associated with it.

    Modifying a 4th gen to be like a 5th gen is not the same as having a proper 5th gen by a long shot. Also, Boeing's performance on contract deliveries has been well below par lately (Wedgetail, etc.) so there would be no guarantees at all about actually getting what they want anyway.

    Remember, this is about giving Japan a plane that can provide capability for the next few decades, not a short interim stop gap measure like the Gripen.

  • 0

    apecNetworks

    From a US Corp. perspective, selling the F35 to Japan w/ as many preconditions placed on the fighter to put into question who owns it is a good deal for the US. I'm speaking in terms of what fighter would best fit into the special situation Japan is in constitutionally and strategically. BTW, SDF is not going to confront the PRC, the Russian Federation nor the US in the air per se. Deterrence is the goal.

  • 0

    KumaNiku

    SDF is not going to confront the PRC, the Russian Federation nor the US in the air per se. Deterrence is the goal.

    Agree. Because the F35 is already a Multinational project, Japan can benefit from the large economy of scale and shared development. Also, there is nothing to stop Japan from (attmepting to at least) from integrating its own systems and manufacturing. And because of the large number of users, the F35 will have a consistent stream of support, improvements, shared experiences and benefits.

    The F35 is a cost-effective deterrent (amongst other things) with huge growth potential well into the future. I don't sound too much like a sales rep for LockMart, do I?

  • 0

    apecNetworks

    If the F35 is that great of a fighter, the SDF should buy 10 of them. However, the candidate for the flagship fighter should be the one w/ very few preconditions placed on it (which connotes a 4th Generation), whereas the Japanese industrial leaders see GREAT potential in upgrade modifications, and ideally, they can work well w/ the manufacturer closely in coordinating modification efforts. The PRC industry has gotten alot of mileage from shopping around the world, piecing together a working fighter and now is really on a roll in building their own 4th/5th Generation plane - they now have a solid infrastructure to produce many things from it. SDF can not do less.

  • 0

    apecNetworks

    It should be added that, as posted years ago, the infrastructure to produce a fighter is more important than the manufacture of the fighter itself. W/ a robust infrastructure, the technologies developed can not only be incorporated into the other branches of the SDF, but serves as a testbed for some of the most advanced research and development in industrial application.

    Japanese society is somewhat disoriented during these historic times, thus it would help to focus on certain things that definitely will grow in the long term. It's an odd perspective overlooking the Asia-Pacific, and frankly, not of much value in the US.

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