U.S. May Sell 4 F-35s to Japan
By Wendell Minnick
TAIPEI, Taiwan — The U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notified Congress on April 30 of a possible $10 billion foreign military sale to Japan for an initial four F-35A Joint Strike Fighter Conventional Take-Off and Landing (CTOL) aircraft with an option for an additional 38 F-35 CTOL aircraft.
The announcement was made in a DSCA press release on May 1.
The deal will include five spare Pratt and Whitney F-135 engines; command, control, communications, computer and intelligence capabilities, navigational systems; electronic warfare systems; an autonomic logistics global support system; an autonomic logistics information system; and a flight mission trainer.
It will also include unique infrared flares, a reprogramming center and performance-based logistics.
“Japan is one of the major political and economic powers in East Asia and the Western Pacific and a key ally of the United States in ensuring the peace and stability of this region,” said the DSCA press release. “The U.S. government shares bases and facilities in Japan. This proposed sale is consistent with these U.S. objectives and with the 1960 Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security.”
The F-35 beat Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet and Eurofighter’s Typhoon in Japan’s competition to replace aging Mitsubishi-built F-4EJ Kai Phantoms. Japan’s F-4 aircraft will be decommissioned as F-35s are added to the inventory.
There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale.
Implementation of the proposed sale could take as long as 15 years, according to the press release, but industry sources indicated deliveries could begin as early as 2016.
The number of JSFs could expand to 100-120 F-35As for the F-XX program to replace the Mitsubishi F-15J/DJ Eagles.
Contractor representatives will be in Japan to conduct engineering technical services and autonomic logistics and global support for after-aircraft delivery, according to the press release.
During the Singapore Airshow in February, Lockheed Martin’s Dave Scott, director of F-35 international customer engagement, said that with U.S. government approval, Lockheed offered Japan as an F-35A final assembly and check-out site, “which is where they put the four major structural components of the airplane together, install the engines and all the electronic systems, do the codings, do the test flights.”
Lockheed is also offering construction of major structural components and subcomponents, engine assembly, integration and test, and light maintenance and repair, he said.