Saturday, July 24, 2010

Eurofighter Typhoon Tries To Wrest Japanese F-X From F/A-18 Super Hornet

A request for proposals for the Japanese Air Force's $10 billion F-X tender is expected as early as October, and the Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet and Eurofighter Typhoon are preparing to duke it out for the 40 to 50 fighters.Budget allocations to replace 73 aging F-4EJ Kai Phantoms are planned for 2011. The decision has been on hold since 2007 due to budgetary problems, political upheaval and procurement scandals.

Tokyo also delayed a decision hoping the U.S. would release the F-22 Raptor for export. But that option died last year, when the U.S. canceled further production.The F-35 is not expected to be available until 2020 or later for Japan.Sources indicate the F-35 is better suited for Japan's F-XX program for 200 to 250 fighters, scheduled for around 2020. Many see F-X only as a stopgap to a fifth-generation jet.In 2009, Japan's Ministry of Defense (MoD) initiated a $500 million research program, through the Technical Research and Development Institute, for the Advanced Technology Demonstrator-X (ATD-X) Shinshin stealth fighter.

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