Monday, August 30, 2010

Japan has Decided to Postpone FX fighter jet for Air Self-Defense Force

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Government efforts to select the next generation of mainstay FX fighter jet for the Air Self-Defense Force, a decision likely to have a profound effect on the future of the nation's air defense, have come to a standstill.The deadline to choose the successor to the ASDF's aging F-4 fighters is said to be 2016. But the Defense Ministry is likely to demand only research expenses for the FX fighter in its fiscal 2011 budget request to be submitted Tuesday. The ministry has unofficially decided to postpone the budget request to procure next-generation mainstay FX fighter jets.The strain in the Japan-U.S. relationship caused by the ruling Democratic Party of Japan's handling of the relocation of the U.S. Futenma Air Station in Okinawa Prefecture has hampered Japan's ability to select FX fighters, observers said.


The decision somehow seems straightforward to me:

If ASDF wants to focus on air-superiority, choose Eurofighter.

If ASDF wants to focus on multirole (including EW) capability, choose F18FG.

If ASDF can wait --- why not? --- F35 could serve as hell of a deterrent to PLA's growing influence in the region.

All three aircraft are potent replacement options for F4, IMHO; the variable/question is what capability ASDF wants to focus on over the next 3 decades.

Fleet size: approximately 55 FXs to replace 70 Phantoms II sounds about right.

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