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Japan to buy at least 20 more F-35A stealth fighters

43 Comments
By Tim Kelly and Nobuhiro Kubo

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Very good move... it is good to see Japan is concerned with the U.S. trade imbalance.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

Well new toys are needed and replacing the fleet of 40+ year old F4 Phantoms is not a bad choice. Toys for the boys. Tax dollars that actually we can see.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

So there's a 30% overhead for building each plane in Japan?

As a former LM employee, thank you for buying.

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

great stuff. load up on some quality new aircraft.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

@SaikoPhysco

Very good move... it is good to see Japan is concerned with the U.S. trade imbalance.

Has nothing to do with US trade imbalance(US gets same amount of money reguardless of the location of final assembly) and everything to do with lack of funding at the Japanese defense ministry.

Japan has to buy more weapons with less money in the face of Chinese/NK threats, so the cheapest way to do this is to abandon expensive Japanese production and import finished weapons.

@TheFu

Very good move... it is good to see Japan is concerned with the U.S. trade imbalance.

Indeed, a good news for LM because it eliminates a potential competitor, the Japanese military aerospace industry.

Now, the F-35 has just two competitors in the international fighter jet market in the 2025~2039 time period, the J-31 and the KF-X. Unlike Japan's troubled fighter program, the KF-X program is advancing smoothly for a 2021 target roll out date.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

So, 25x100 million, that makes 2.5 billion. Added to 42 already ordered x100 million, 4.2billion.

2.5+4.2=$6.7 billion

So that's why we'll need to pay more taxes next year...

1 ( +5 / -4 )

The sources asked not to be identified because they are not authorized to speak to the media.

Often wondered what this actually means.

Why is this person potentially risking his career or even jail time? (money?)

Who else is he willing to give information away to?

If someone in my business was leaking information to other parties, I'd want to know who it is.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

@Bintaro

Added to 42 already ordered x100 million, 4.2billion.

42 already ordered cost $180 million each plus $1 billion FACO.

That's a total of $8.5 billion.

Originally the deal was worth $10 billion to include Japanese manufactured parts re-licensed from original parts suppliers, but Japanese suppliers balked at the price offered by Japanese government and each one of Japan assembled F-35 has 100% foreign content with zero Japanese parts.

https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics-Economy/Policy-Politics/Japan-s-deployment-of-F-35A-mired-in-controversy

January 27, 2018 7:48 am JST

Japan's deployment of F-35A mired in controversy

Cutting-edge stealth fighter jet has no Japanese-made parts

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@ Samit... "additional" 20 fighters. Total cost over 6 years, $2 Billion. Your argument that "US gets same amount of money regardless of the location of final assembly". I understand exactly what you're saying but how the heck does this not get added to trade numbers. Japan buys fighters from USA... additional order for 20 more. Japan pays USA... number gets added to trade figures. Maybe the Lockheed Martin will just donate them.... yeah... why not.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@SaikoPhysco

 I understand exactly what you're saying but how the heck does this not get added to trade numbers.

The 30% premium for Japan assembled F-35A is an assembly fee paid to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. Lockheed Martin doesn't see any of it, other than salaries and service fees for its US employees dispatched to the Mitsubish FACO to conduct classified assembly operation.

The US gets same $100 million per jet regardless of where it's assembled, in Texas or in Japan. To have it assembled in Japan, Japanese government has to pay Mitsubishi $30 million per jet for assembly and checkout service and Japanese government now considers it a wasteful spending.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Please add maintance, fuel, upgrades, accidents and Usa spying to the real cost.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

the country's leading defencse contractor.

Yeah, sometimes I forget whether it's "defence" or "defense" too (hint: the latter), but choose one or the other, not both.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Good to hear. There’s never too much to spend on defense especially with Japan’s terrible neighbours..

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

Why does Japan need stealth fighters, a first strike weapon? The SDF needs to defend Japan and nothing more.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

@Samit Basu

Thanks ! Always good to know what I'm paying for !

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@ Samit.. so you're saying that Japan Mitsubishi has not completed the original 42 fighters at the additional $30 cost to manufacture in Japan. Where in the article or where does it say anything about that contract not running until completion? These are 20 additional aircraft... you make zero sense.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

A buy is a buy from the U. S. and does help off set those huge trade surpluses in Japan's favor caused by protectionism.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Japan should be buying 20 Russia SU-35s, long range air superiority interceptors.

F35 top speed rated at Mach 1.6 : (1,200 mph, 1,930 km/h) *wiki

SU-35s top speed rated at Mach 2.25 : (2,400 km/h; 1,490 mph) *wiki

Battle simulations show when engaged against each other the win ratio is over 2-1 in favour of the SU-35s.

Unit costs

SU-35s Unit cost US$40–65 million (Su-35S) *wiki

F35 Unit cost F-35A: $94.6M (low rate initial production lot 10 (LRIP 10) including F135 engine, full production in 2018 to be $85M) *wiki

You can buy almost 2 SU-35s for the cost of 1 F35.

There needs to be a mix in any modern airforce of multi role jets like the F35 with some air superiority fighters covering them while they carry out missions. Putting all your eggs in the F35 basket will mean you need to run away when you detect an SU-35s and hope it does not see you. If it does, its greatly superior speed will see it quickly chase you down and then shoot you down.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

This doesn't make me feel any safer, the way these planes seem to be breaking apart and crashing. I have a cheaper plan: Let's become friends with everyone, then we don't have to worry about being attacked and don't need to waste money on this stuff. I think all this tension is being created by fake news bots of the US military-industrial complex: no war, no money.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

As Peter14 has pointed out, the Russian SU-35 knocks the F35 into a cocked hat and at half the price as well. But the vassal state would never be allowed to purchase them.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

For Air-Defence:

I'd rather they modernize the F-15 fighters to the F-15 2040C standard ( it can double the current number of missiles to 16). This will be useful for the scores of cheap fighters that a certain unfriendly neighbor will field against Japan. Their policy is to overwhelm the enemy with superior numbers rather than quality. The F-15 2040C will go some way in addressing this.

For anti-shipping & attack:

They should get upgraded F-15SAs

While the F-35A is good and all, a mere 20-30 of them will not stop an enemy that tries to overwhelm you with numerical advantage. Japan should have a mixed bag of F-35s, F-15 2040C and F-15SA.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@SaikoPhysco

so you're saying that Japan Mitsubishi has not completed the original 42 fighters at the additional $30 cost to manufacture in Japan. 

No Mitsubishi has not. Mitsubishi is still working on the first 6 jets of 36 jets ordered(6 are to be assembled in the US). Mitsubishi will be able to run the FACO assembly operation until 2022 with the existing 36 jet order.

@Peter14 and @Civitas Sine Suffragio

Well, you are forgetting that Japan and Russia are enemies in a bitter territorial dispute. One does not buy weapon from one's enemy.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

The F-35 was never intended to be an air-superiority fighter. I won’t get started on the failings of the trend for “multi role” and “integration” vs purpose-built, however.

The F-35 is valuable for its STOVL capabilities and command and control and information sharing ability.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Doesn't the name Lockheed anything anymore in Japan?

It used to be equated with corruption.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Soon they will find that jet has NO STEALTH plus a  complicated high cost maintainence fees. But I think Abe doesnt cares at all!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It may have all the bells and whistles but it's hardly the sexiest fighter plane out there is it?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japan has already ordered 42 F-35s ($4.2 billion) and so the total price tag with the purchase this time added will amount to $6.2 billion.

Japan is also considerating buying 35Bs, the VTOL version of 35A, to be operated from Izumo-class helicopter carriers.

Are these measures a response to U.S. President Donald Trumps' call for Japan to correct trade imbalance with the U.S.?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@voiceofokinawa

Japan has already ordered 42 F-35s ($4.2 billion)

The first 42 units were worth $10 billion, not $4.2 billion.

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/usa-pegs-value-of-japanese-f-35-deal-at-10-billion-371362/

USA pegs value of Japanese F-35 deal at $10 billion

The USA has assessed the proposed sale of 42 Lockheed Martin F-35A fighter aircraft to Japan at $10 billion.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Reminds me of that song: "Where has all that (tax) money gone"

Actually it was about flowers (written by Pete Seeger years ago).

Especially noteworthy (not only in the original version!!):

"When will they ever learn, when will they ever learn?"

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Samit Basu,

Thanks for the tip. At any rate, it seems price tags for military equipment the sales agent U.S.A. sells overseas are pegged very randomly and arbitrarily. Is this the reason why the Japanese government decided to approach Lockheed-Martin directly this time without  any intervention from the U.S. government?

If the first purchase was also made directly, Japan could have saved $5.8 billion, not just $30 million.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Very bad news, absolutely unnecessary waste of the taxpayers' money. F-35 is insanely expensive (both in production and maintenance) piece of machinery with untested capabilities, it is not even fully operational and it is unknown when it will reach this long overdue status. Even USAF, a part of the richest military in the world, is struggling to secure funds to maintain the monster. Canada was smart enough to ditch the F-35, bail out of this madness. Israel is also re-considering the F-35 program, may be they'll upgrade F-15s instead of buying F-35s. Japan should do the same, or better develop its own modern fighter.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japan also wants to build its own stealth fighter, dubbed the F-3, although the high cost of military aircraft development means it will probably need to find foreign partners to share the expense.

And I very much hope that development goes ahead with suitable partners. I would like to see Japan produce a 5th or 6th generation aircraft.

The E.U is in the process of designing its next generation aircraft and that's a good thing as well. Its not wise to have the West and all of its allies reliant on one plane. I know it makes sense to get the price down but if there is a serious flaw in the F-35 and lets be honest, there has been a lot of controversy about this plane, then we need alternatives that we can build fast.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Soon they will find that jet has NO STEALTH plus a complicated high cost maintainence fees. But I think Abe doesnt cares at all!

Apparently the latest European developed radars can detect stealth planes, so I have read on another site.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Canada was smart enough to ditch the F-35, bail out of this madness

Yeah but the Canadians are cheap buggers buying second hand used and abused F16's from Australia.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yeah but the Canadians are cheap buggers

Or they are just reasonable? No need to splash such tremendous amount of money on the untested, unreliable plane that won't become a workhorse for the years to come?

By the way, are the Israelis are cheap buggers too?

https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/israeli-air-force-leaning-toward-f-15-over-f-35-for-next-acquisition-1.5769565

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Buying will case only one time protest. Building? All sort of protesters come out and criticize gov't ae if they each pays $million tax.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@voiceofokinawa

All F-35 foreign sales are FMS sales through the US FMS office. The F-35 is not available for direct commercial sales, unlike the F-15 and the F-16.

What changed between the last order and the new order is

Unit price of the F-35 dropped due to increased production.

Japan seeks to purchase jets assembled in Texas, thereby bypassing the Mitsubishi FACO facility entirely. In the last order, 36 out of 42 ordered are to be assembled at the Mitsubishi FACO and Mitsubishi is a notoriously inefficient contractor.
0 ( +0 / -0 )

Why does Japan need stealth fighters, a first strike weapon? The SDF needs to defend Japan and nothing more.

You don't bring a knife to a gun fight. Stealth lets you get behind the attacking enemy and take them out or attack ground/surface targets.

Radar improvements really can't be discussed.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Samit Basu,

Thank you for the information.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

klausdorth

Actually it was about flowers (written by Pete Seeger years ago).

No it was about the futility of war and mankind's inability to learn the fact.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

So far, I heard F35 had so many problems and incidents....Then, why buying stealth plane ??? You need to have stealth planes to fly over ennemies territories and Japan is supposed to have a self defense army so to defend its own territory ( except if they have other plans). This is only to please US without any tactic or defense arguments. Bullshits and as a result paying extra taxes without a word to say...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Losers in the USA have the control of Japans politicians and they can force the Japanese to finance American financial blunders by buying crappy bad planes and other weapons they do not really need. Most of the local territorial tensions between the neighboring countries is American generated ar at least enhanced in order to create the need for this 'urgent' arming.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Zvonko,

Jonathan san, tsk tsk,

Croatian? Romanian? Serbian?

Definable Russian Federation sympathizer. Losers in the USA have the control of Japans politicians and they can force the Japanese to finance American financial blunders by buying crappy bad planes and other weapons they do not really need. Losers. Hmm really?

Jealous much?

No one forces the Japanese to do anything. Lived here 22 years to know that well enough.

American financial blunders? Okay Lets get this straight. The sale of 25 state the art fighters that can knock out anything out of the skies that flies is not considered a blunder.

Crappy panes you say? Right. American fighter jets and bombers have dominated the skies for a century.

Most of the local territorial tensions between the neighboring countries is American generated are at least enhanced in order to create the need for this 'urgent' arming.

Where have you been living like the last 10 years?

It can not be Japan can it? So you know there is this hermit kingdom with this really crazy quacked out family at the helm. Not far from Japan They call themselves the D.P.R.K. They launch missiles into Japanese airspace and make threats like. Japan will burn in a sea of fire and flames. Jonathan san. The next time your out and about right. Should you be fortunate enough to have a run in an American service man or woman. Call them a loser. Tell them how you really feel. Let all that stress out. Go ahead. observe very closely and see the reaction you get you mighty keyboard warrior. Or just buy em a beer and say thank you.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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