Here's some very good news for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, Japan is signalling that it may become the next country to sign up to buy the plane.
The island nation had been considering replacing its ancient fleet of F-4 Phantoms and newer F-15s with the Eurofighter Typhoon, F/A-18E/F Super Hornets and finally the F-35. According to news reports from Japan, Tokyo is set to choose the F-35 this week.
Japan will likely pick Lockheed Martin's F-35 jet as its next frontline fighter, media reported on Tuesday, which may help end six decades of isolation for the country's defense contractors and bolster its military against growing Chinese might.This move makes sense given the United States' recent decision to pivot its military and diplomatic attention to the far east. Remember, Japan, one of the U.S.' most important allies, is concerned about China's rapidly growing military. Buying the same jet that will be the backbone of the U.S. fighter fleet will only help in any joint-operations with the U.S.
The government will choose between two U.S. models -- the F-35 and the Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet -- and Europe's four-nation Eurofighter Typhoon, at a meeting of the national security council on Friday, the Nikkeibusiness daily said.
The date of the planned meeting could not be confirmed with government officials and chief cabinet spokesman Osamu Fujimura said no decision had been made. The Pentagon's F-35 program office also said it had not received any word from Japan.
Analysts say the purchase is potentially worth $8 billion.
In addition to buying the F-35, Japan plans on developing ATD-X, its own stealthy, twin-engined air superiority fighter in the next decade to fulfill the role played by the F-22 Raptor, which the U.S. refused to sell to Tokyo.