This article first appeared at Aerospace Daily & Defense Report.
TOKYO -- Lockheed Martins F-22 Raptor still appeals to Japans leadership, but theres an implacable demand for Japans industrial participation in any aircraft it operates, which appears to be diminishing demand for the Raptor.
"We must have the capabilities within Japan for technical support, maintenance and upgrading to meet changing circumstances during the F-Xs lifetime," says Maj. Gen. Hidetoshi Hirata, director of the Defense Planning and Policy Department in Japans Defense Ministry air staff. As far as F-X capabilities, "Stealth would be a great advantage for air-defense and air-to-air engagements. Stealth would also be necessary if we had to [penetrate enemy air defenses to] attack a ballistic missile launch facility before it activated." However, Japan is thinking about more than bombs.
"I think the technology to create malfunctions or damage [in enemy systems through electronic attack] is very important," he said.
Meanwhile, Japans Air Defense Command (ADC) has begun building a new headquarters at Yokota Air Base that will include a joint, Japanese-U.S.-manned subterranean command-and-control center. It also will feature an underground tunnel that connects the ADC HQ with the U.S. Air Forces air operations center.
Read the rest of this story, a look at how confident LMCo is on JSF orders, the Dutch putting warheads on foreheads in Afghanistan and Aussies blowing crap up in the Stan from our Aviation Week friends at Military.com.