Saturday, August 7, 2010

Japan Eyes Further Mitsubishi F-2 Procurement

Japan is examining the possibility of continuing production of the Mitsubishi F-2 to bolster its fighter fleet in the face of growing Chinese capability, adding some 20 aircraft to the 94 (plus four prototypes) currently procured. The Japan Air Self Defense Force (JASDF) is looking for a new fighter and has stated a desire for the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor, but U.S. export restrictions have ruled that out.

Lead competitors for the JASDF requirement are now the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), Eurofighter Typhoon and Boeing F/A-18E/F. If Japan cannot acquire F-22s, then the F-35 would be a logical choice, but Japan reportedly has concerns about the JSF’s timescale and growing costs. Procurement of additional F-2s would be an interim step to give Japan a longer period in which to make a decision.

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