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Japan Looking at F-35Bs to Replace F-15Js

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posted on Feb, 12 2018 @ 10:07 PM
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The government is considering operating F-35B fighter jets from about fiscal 2026, in an effort to utilize airports on remote islands and thereby improve the nation’s capability to defend the isles, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.

Considered the most advanced stealth fighters, F-35Bs are currently operated by the U.S. military based in Japan.

The Japanese government is also eyeing the operation of the fighters on Izumo, the Maritime Self-Defense Force’s largest-class destroyer and which Tokyo is considering remodeling into an aircraft carrier, according to government sources.

...

As for the F-35B, the government is planning to indicate the number of aircraft to be procured in the next Medium Term Defense Program, which is to be compiled at the end of this year. It is also mulling including related expenses in the fiscal 2019 budget plan, with a view to starting the delivery of F-35Bs from around fiscal 2024, the sources said.

The F-35B is likely to be defined as a successor to the F-15, the ASDF’s main fighter jet. One plan is to introduce about 20 to 40 F-35Bs, which would correspond to one to two squadrons. Tokyo is also considering increasing the number of F-35As in the next midterm defense program, according to the sources.


the-japan-news.com...


That's interesting news.

It almost certainly means an indigenous stealth fighter is thoroughly dead. At least until the 2030s, if not later.

As an aviation enthusiast, I'm pretty bummed. The X-2 was a gorgeous plane and I thought Mitsubishi ought to have teamed with an American company to offer it as a T-X contender. It was a fantasy long shot, but it would have been a great way to both help the Japanese and get us a good trainer. Assuming Boeing doesn't biff it, I'd say they've got the T-X at this point.

OTOH, it does mean there's less competition out there for American fighter exports and that's not a bad thing whatsoever. It also means there are more allies with very compatible equipment.

OTGH, this isn't settled since the order hasn't been signed, let alone been sealed and paid for.

The article also discusses the Japanese Maritime Defense Force (*cough*navy*cough*) wanting to convert the Izumo into a carrier. But then, carriers are obsolete, right?




posted on Feb, 13 2018 @ 12:45 AM
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a reply to: anzha

As cool as it would be, I still don't see the Izumo making a decent jeep carrier. I'm not even a big fan of our small deck carriers for fixed wing. They're just not flexible enough, except for getting to a conflict zone.
edit on 2/13/2018 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 13 2018 @ 01:48 AM
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originally posted by: anzha

It almost certainly means an indigenous stealth fighter is thoroughly dead. At least until the 2030s, if not later.

As an aviation enthusiast, I'm pretty bummed. The X-2 was a gorgeous plane and I thought Mitsubishi ought to have teamed with an American company to offer it as a T-X contender. It was a fantasy long shot, but it would have been a great way to both help the Japanese and get us a good trainer. Assuming Boeing doesn't biff it, I'd say they've got the T-X at this point.

It was already delayed last year, looks pretty dead. And not a moment to soon. Japan developing a true 5th Gen aircraft comparable to the F-35 at even remotely similar costs has always been ridiculous.
The 40 something F-35As Japan ordered will be built by Mitsubishi anyway, there is no reason to think that in time they couldnt go the same route as with the F-16/F-2 manufacturing in Japan, building their own F-35J version with everything they want on the aircraft.
Their airfleet should really build itself. Just continue to replace ageing F-15s and in time F-2s with newly build F-35s after they are done phasing out the last F-4s, in the moving to an entirely F-35 centric force.
And given the expanding threat in the west, they should also seriously think about expanding their fighter fleet, not just replacing ageing jets. The F-35 is the only way to afford that.



posted on Feb, 13 2018 @ 02:39 AM
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a reply to: mightmight

The X-2 program wasn't going anywhere but an experiment. It might have been used as the base for a new design, but the program was extremely successful. The X-2 was their attempt to see if they could build a stealthy platform on their own. It was so successful that it finished all their tests in something like 35 flights, instead of the 50 they planned on.



posted on Feb, 13 2018 @ 02:53 AM
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I can see some interesting stuff from the designers in the future..Sometimes its about laying the groundwork.



posted on Feb, 13 2018 @ 04:20 AM
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originally posted by: Zaphod58
a reply to: mightmight
The X-2 program wasn't going anywhere but an experiment.
Bet that as it may, the point is, the decision on whether or not to move forward on the underlying ADT-X Project and the new F-3 fighter jet was delayed last year:
thediplomat.com...

With the most recent news of Japan apparently wanting to procure additional F-35 they most likley wont push for development of an actual F-3 prototype. Once the F-35 procurement is well underway i seriously doubt they ll try to invest into another 5th Gen platform. We might see a push for sixth gen but thats way off.
IMO this is a very good decision for them. Building a half way decent avionic suite is one thing, demonstrating proficiency innext gen stealth tech is quite another.
And even if a miracle happens and they build a aircraft comparable to the F-35, it will still come at least a decade too late and will cost much more as the F-35 a couple of years down the road. Building in F-35s in Japan is the right way to go.



posted on Feb, 13 2018 @ 04:40 AM
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Seriously? Is the JASDF retarded or did someone just misreport this? You DONT replace an all weather air superiority aircraft with a VSTOL gimmick. And if the X-2 was so successful why would they elect to not continue with it and produce a production 5th Gen? I smell a rat here and I think it lies in Washington.



posted on Feb, 13 2018 @ 04:48 AM
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originally posted by: thebozeian
Seriously? Is the JASDF retarded or did someone just misreport this? You DONT replace an all weather air superiority aircraft with a VSTOL gimmick. And if the X-2 was so successful why would they elect to not continue with it and produce a production 5th Gen? I smell a rat here and I think it lies in Washington.


VSTOL is not a gimmick, the RAF will have the second most potent carrier force in the world with F-35B and 2xHMS QE carriers, laugh at that gimmick.

Also, how do you know the F-15 "all weather air superiority aircraft" can take on a F-35, my money would be on the VLO jet.

Even the US are replacing some F-15 and F-18 with F-35 - are they retarded too?



posted on Feb, 13 2018 @ 04:56 AM
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a reply to: thebozeian

Building a successful demonstrator doesnt mean you can produce a competitve 5th Gen aircraft in an affordable and timely manner. Building the F-35 in Japan will always be more attractive than trying to make the F-3 work.

As for replacing F-15Js with F-35Bs, you need to look at the bigger picture. They are not getting rid of all F-15Js, just those aircraft who wont get enhancement upgrades. They're are also already in the process of transiting their ageing F-4EJ squadrons to F-35As which will tremendously boost their capabilities all across the board, including the AtA.
And procuring a STOVL aircraft can indeed make sense for Japan. Not so much because of their Destroyers playing Carriers but because they do have a hell of a lot islands with rather short airstrips. Islands that could become important in future conflicts with China.
And finally, there is nothing wrong with an F-35B using AIM-120Ds and AIM-9X in the air superority role. Nothing at all. Of course Japan uses indigenous missiles but thats another issue.




posted on Feb, 13 2018 @ 04:57 AM
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a reply to: Forensick
You totally missed the point Forensick, if you are going to replace the F-15J with any model of F-35 the one you DONT pick is the B model. The A or C is far better kinematics wise as well as range. The B model is something you operate off small carriers. Sorry but you are kidding yourself if you think VSTOL is as potent as a CTOL, and that includes the RN and its F-35B folly, C models would have made it a true second tier carrier force if they had been smart enough to complete the QE's as CATOBAR ships.



posted on Feb, 13 2018 @ 05:08 AM
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a reply to: mightmight

And may I direct you back to what Zaphod correctly pointed out about the X-2 program. it was extremely successful, so successful that it was canned. Clearly there were hurdles they would need to jump but to paraphrase you, "in the bigger picture" having an additional aircraft with an emphasis on stealth interceptor/air superiority would have made the collective alliance much stronger than punching out additional copies of the F-35 with a "made in Japan" sticker. If they truly want the F-35B for use on small carriers or short strips, fine. But lets not b**lsh*t that they are an effective replacement for even some of the F-15J's, the C and A or an F-3 are much closer to the mark.



posted on Feb, 13 2018 @ 06:01 AM
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a reply to: thebozeian

Beliece what you want, but testing an avionics suite and 3d trust vectoring on a Demonstrator doesnt mean you are able to produce a viable 5th Gen aircraft soon enough and affordable enough to take on the F-35.
So far the Japanese areospace industry has podouced a Grand total of zero modern combat aircraft. Their crown jewel, the Mitsubishi F-2 is 'just' a heavily modified F-16 and Lockheed still builds most of the jet for them, including the engines from GE Aviation. Like it or not, Japan simply lacks the neccessary experience and technological know how to come up with something comparable with the F-35 tens years down the road. Of course they could build something if they really wanted to, but it wont stand up against the package Lockheed will be able to offer.

And as Forensik said, i take the B over the F-15J too. Any true VLO jet really.



posted on Feb, 13 2018 @ 08:07 AM
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a reply to: mightmight

The F-3 wasn't planned to start production until 2027, if it goes ahead. That puts FOC near 2040. They need something to replace the F-15s to fill that gap. They have until summer to make their decision.



posted on Feb, 13 2018 @ 01:40 PM
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a reply to: mightmight

They'd be better if scraping the F-2 today. Waste of money.



posted on Feb, 13 2018 @ 01:43 PM
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a reply to: Forensick

The English will need to buy more jets if they want to be anything more than a token force. As of right now they are going to rely on the Marines, the US Marines I should say.



posted on Feb, 13 2018 @ 01:58 PM
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a reply to: Caughtlurking

The F-2 is an excellent platform. It's actually better than the F-16, which it was based on.



posted on Feb, 13 2018 @ 02:02 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

And the hand wringing it caused in the late 1980s at the last peak of the "Japanese are coming to eat us!" hysteria.



posted on Feb, 13 2018 @ 02:03 PM
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a reply to: anzha

Oh god, I forgot about that.



posted on Feb, 13 2018 @ 03:06 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

I just can't wait until the JMSDF announces the "Izumo Flight II aircraft-carrying destroyer", which just happens to displace 70,000 tons and be CATOBAR-upgradeable, and start naming them things like "Akagi", "Hiryu", and "Soryu".
edit on 13-2-2018 by Barnalby because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 13 2018 @ 03:18 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

Yup. Oh the mania of the day...

In some ways I see the parallel with the Chinese today. The Chinese are going to get us! aaaah! The difference now is that we have kinda horked ourselves. The other bit is the Chinese have a lot of people that, if they were to have convergent incomes with Americans, would be immensely rich. And taxable. I'd have pointed out the demographic problem ten years ago (which China is about to hit starting next year), but! the robopocalypse (automation replacing labor) and the fact we are probably going to hit our own demographic problem (the Millennials are not having kids, largely because they can't afford to).

So. Time will tell, as Einstein said in Red Alert.



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