Japan May Purchase F-35

From Reuters:

Japan decision on F-35 jet now seen next week

The Japanese government has delayed a formal announcement on its choice of a next-generation fighter jet until December 20, according to two sources familiar with the process, but Lockheed Martin Corp’s radar-evading F-35 is still expected to get the order.

The delay came because Japan’s national security council, chaired by Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, has to deal with other pressing matters at a December 14 meeting where the fighter jet decision had initially been expected, said the sources, who were not authorized to speak on the record.

But the delay did not mean any change in Japan’s commitment to buy Lockheed’s F-35 fighter, one of the sources added.

Japan’s government and ruling party officials have approved a Defense Ministry proposal to buy Lockheed’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter as the country’s next mainstay fighter, public broadcaster NHK said on Wednesday.

Japanese media said on Tuesday that Lockheed was likely to win a deal worth more than $7 billion, beating out Boeing’s F/A-18 and the Eurofighter Typhoon, made by a consortium of European companies including BAE Systems…..(More)

Well, well….. Ten nations now have a stake in the F-35, or at least soon will have (plus two more “participants”).   Add more load to an already heavily pressurized project.  Cost per airframe is fast approaching that of some small conflicts.  Yet, one must consider, as the article points out, Japan is feeling no small discomfort from its neighbor to the west.

And what will happen should the F-35 program is cut, curtailed, or otherwise constrained due to budget cuts here in the US?

Well if history is any guide, there will be an open market for anyone producing a fifth generation (or sixth generation!) equivalent to the F-104 or F-16. The market is there.

– Craig.