Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Japan Eyes Procuring F-35 fighters; Gives up on More F-2 jets

The Defense Ministry has set its sights on procuring the F-35 fighter as Japan’s main next-generation fighter aircraft for the Air Self-Defense Force, giving up on an earlier plan to buy more F-2 fighters, ministry and Self-Defense Forces sources said Sunday.The ministry plans to seek procurement costs for the F-35 in its budget request for fiscal 2012 and is slated to begin full-fledged arrangements for the procurement plan early next year through a selection committee to prepare for the budget request deadline next summer, the sources said.The ministry was planning to retool its current main F-15 fighters and buy more F-2 jets as a stopgap measure, given the delay in the development of the fifth-generation F-35 stealth fighter capable of flying at supersonic speeds as well as its price increase.But the ministry has determined that procuring the less functional F-2 aircraft additionally would not be expedient from the standpoint of deterrence and cost, the sources said.

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