Japan’s Fighter Jets: A Tussle Between Technology And Diplomacy

Discussion in 'Indo Pacific & East Asia' started by Singh, Nov 9, 2011.

  1. Singh

    Singh Phat Cat Administrator

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    Japan received bids from Boeing, Lockheed Martin and BAE Systems to replace its outdated F-4 fighter jets on 27 September 2011, as part of a plan to buy 40–50 fighter jets in a deal worth more than US$6 billion.



    Japan intends to add the new aircraft to its fleet by 2016.

    Currently, the Japan Air Self-Defence Force (JASDF) has a fleet of 350 combat aircraft, which incorporates 260 fighter aircraft. But the Japanese Ministry of Defence (MoD) was forced to scrap 12 out of 18 damaged F-2s after the March 11 tsunami, which hit the JASDF Matsushima Air Base in Miyagi prefecture. Additionally, the existing fleet of F-4EJ Phantom II and F-15J Eagles are of older generation and also need to be replaced.

    Apart from these domestic obligations, there are pressing external concerns, too. Chinese and Russian aircraft are often detected flying over Japan’s air space illegally and JASDF has taken immediate action to either warn or intercept them. According to the MoD, intercepts of Chinese planes almost tripled last year, and Russia also recently sent two bombers into Japanese airspace. Taking into account the contestation over remote islands such as the Kuril islands (between Japan and Russia) and the Senkaku islands (contested by China), as well as the rapid modernisation of its neighbours’ fighter aircraft, the time is now ripe for Japan to augment its fighter fleet.

    With Russia developing a fifth-generation fighter and China developing its own new fifth-generation multi-purpose fighter, Japan also has plans for a next-generation aircraft. The Society of Japanese Aerospace Companies (SJAC) has proposed producing a next-generation air-superiority fighter until 2028, and to have 100–120 planes replace existing F-15Js. This would then be superseded by a Japanese fighter design, to begin development by 2017. Japan hopes to fly a Mitsubishi ATD-X by 2014–2016, and the SJAC’s idea is that its successor could enter production around 2028, as the foreign-designed F-X fighter line closes down.

    The MoD has identified four selection criteria for the next fighter jets: the performance of the aircraft and its weapons, maintenance costs, the level of participation of domestic firms, and after-sales support. Regarding performance criteria, the MoD is focusing on stealth, kinematic performance and information-processing capabilities.

    If stealth is desired, then Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter conventional takeoff and landing variant is considered the second best after F-22 Raptors. The radar signature of the F-35 is far ahead of its competitors, and Lockheed Martin has also offered to exchange the F-35’s transfer of final assembly to Japanese firms. But they are hugely expensive — each jet may cost over US$100 million, and it may not even be available until 2016.

    If a good price is desired, Boeing’s F/A-18E/F Super Hornet is less expensive, with each plane set at approximately US$60 million and it is readily available. Japan’s partner, the US Navy, also uses F-18s, but its technology is considered to be outdated.

    The Eurofighter Typhoon, built by an EU consortium, provides opportunities both diplomatically and technologically for Japan, the UK and the rest of Europe to work together. The Eurofighter Typhoon has very limited ground attack capabilities that would satisfy Japan’s ‘defence only’ criteria. And in an interview with the Financial Times, Japanese Defence Minister Yasuo Ichikawa said Japan’s alliance with the US would not be a ‘major criterion’ in deciding between the Eurofighter Typhoon, Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet and Lockheed’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

    Meanwhile, all three bidders have pledged to allow fighters to be built under licence in Japan. The question is how much production they will allow.

    There will be a lot of meetings and deliberations both inside and outside Japan’s Ministry of Defence until the final decision is taken by December 2011. It is speculated that Japan will plump for its traditional partner, namely the US. But Ichikawa has insisted that the Japanese selection process would be ‘rigorous and fair’, and waved aside suggestions that spurning the US could cause strains with Washington. In the Financial Times, Kunihiko Miyake, a security expert at the Canon Global Institute, said that the technical and tactical issues should be given more importance than procurement diplomacy.

    Meanwhile, India has opted for a technologically better Eurofighter Typhoon along with France’s Dassault Rafale jets — and this did not result in a dip in Indo-US relations. It remains to be seen what Japan opts for and its possible ramifications. Buying a European fighter may have a ‘big political impact’ on Japan-US relations. Japan should take into account its air power requirements and capabilities rather than procurement diplomacy. Japan must weigh up its final decision carefully.


    Japan’s fighter jets: a tussle between technology and diplomacy | East Asia Forum
     
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  3. asianobserve

    asianobserve Elite Member Elite Member

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    "Meanwhile, India has opted for a technologically better Eurofig hter Typhoon along with France’s Dassault Rafale jets — and this did not result in a dip in Indo-US relations."


    Who said Eurofighter is technologically better than the SH or even the Block 60 F16 for that matter? These jets though older in designs can detect and target either the Eurofighter or Rafale at much longer ranges. The writer of this article must be the Chief Marketing Officer of the Eurofighter Consortium...
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2011
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  4. SPIEZ

    SPIEZ Senior Member Senior Member

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    Why no word about the Dasault Rafale's ?

    Are the Japanesse not interested in French equipment ?
     
  5. Tshering22

    Tshering22 Sikkimese Saber Senior Member

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    ^^ The Japanese CANNOT buy French or European systems. They have to either buy US made material or suffer deadly arm-twisting from US. Japanese might be clean, smart and innovative people but they are not governing themselves. US is governing them. Any PM that doesn't agree with a couple of pointers from US is replaced. It is called "resigned" but we should know better than that. The previous PM was talking of revoking the defence white paper to revive the ailing Japanese economy and he got chucked out.

    Japanese have good weapons but tragically they cannot export them without US nod. What to talk of buying non-US weapons.
     
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  6. p2prada

    p2prada Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Rafale's never took part because Dassault knew the decision will be political and they will never even be shortlisted.
     
  7. Galaxy

    Galaxy Elite Member Elite Member

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    F-A/18 Super Hornet and F-35 are 2 very good if not best fighter jets in 4.5th and 5th Generation category. Japanese will operate best one. Why so much of noise then when they are buying some quality jets ??
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2011
  8. Galaxy

    Galaxy Elite Member Elite Member

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    Even if they participated, Japanese would rejected such offer. Only U.S. can provide 100 quality fighter jets like Super Hornet by 2016. Dassault will take 10 years to provide 100-120 aircraft. Super Hornet is as good as Rafale if not better.
     
  9. asianobserve

    asianobserve Elite Member Elite Member

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    Japanese buy weaposna nd weapons systems not only for tactical considerations but strategic. That's why they buy American weapons since they know that their defences is tied up to the Americans. When push comes to shove the Japanese know that it is the Americans that will come to their defense. So why buy other exotic jets when American jeats are available, and proven better. But more importantly, in case of real military operations, which will most likely be jointly conducted with the US, these US-sourced weapons can be easily linked with the Americans forces. This my friend is what you call force multiplier.
     
  10. Galaxy

    Galaxy Elite Member Elite Member

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    Eurofighter loses ground against F-35 in Japan contract race

    Eurofighter loses ground against F-35 in Japan contract race


    Defence analysts monitoring the three-way dogfight for the multi-billion contract say Tokyo has been impressed with the stealth technology of the Lockheed Martin F-35, which will enable it to carry out clandestine monitoring of Chinese, North Korean and Russian military assets in the region.

    It also remains indebted to Washington for the assistance the US military provided in the aftermath of the March 11 earthquake.

    "Even before March 11 there were many factors in favour of the F-35, but since then that national security relationship between the two governments has become much closer," one analyst with knowledge of the bidding told The Daily Telegraph.

    The third aircraft in the running for the contract is the Boeing F/A18 Super Hornet and representatives of Eurofighter and Boeing have scheduled a joint press conference in Tokyo on Wednesday to debate the merits of their aircraft.

    The consortium behind the Eurofighter Typhoon is continuing to promote the aircraft, however, and remains confident in its product.

    "We are in daily contact with the Japanese Ministry of Defence regarding their F-X evaluation," said Andy Latham, vice president of Typhoon exports.

    "We maintain that our cost-effective proposal offers Eurofighter Typhoon, the world's most advanced multi-role combat aircraft, as Japan's best option to meet the requirement for its F-X programme and the most capable deterrent to regional threats," he said.

    A decision is expected in December and opting for Typhoon would be particularly welcomed by BAE Systems, one of the three European companies building the plane, which in September announced nearly 3,000 potential job losses across Britain.

    However BAE is also building part of the F-35 for Lockheed.

    RAF Typhoons flew around 3,000 operational hours over Libya, reporting a 99pc success rate against fixed targets and 98pc against mobile targets. That combat experience is seen as vital to the bid.

    Eurofighter has declined to reveal the price tag on the aircraft, but each jet is believed to cost around £65m.

    The Typhoon is in service with the air forces of the four countries that collaborated on the project and has been sold to Austria and Saudi Arabia.

    The governments of India, Greece, Qatar, Oman, South Korea, Denmark, Switzerland, Turkey, Romania, Malaysia and Bulgaria are all also reportedly considering acquiring the aircraft.

    Eurofighter loses ground against F-35 in Japan contract race - Telegraph
     
  11. Tshering22

    Tshering22 Sikkimese Saber Senior Member

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    US defense was relevant in cold war era; not now. US cannot even fight North Korea right now because of economic meltdown. Japan is virtually left on their own defenses as of now. And though Japanese of present generation are puppets, we must remember that last time they went on a militarization spree, they made half the world shyte in their pants.

    China will never be a threat to Japan. As much as many Chinese fantasize "sinking the little island country", Japanese are equally armed as CCP is. The difference is that unlike China creating hype around everything, Japanese keep it silent and show the peaceful side because they know what real power means. Let's face it; no one here is silly enough to think Japanese don't have ballistic missiles and know how to make nukes. Knowing their ready status all the time, they'd be ready with it in a matter of days.

    US only is becoming a liability to Japanese national security as long as Japan is tied down to that stupid WW2 era agreement.

    Same goes for Germans.
     
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  12. asianobserve

    asianobserve Elite Member Elite Member

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    Somebody is dreaming again. Bring out the obituaries! :laugh:
     
  13. charlyondfi

    charlyondfi Regular Member

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    8)Dreaming, or imagination? are we laughing at other people's dreaming, or we are exposing our limits of (power of) imagination?

    Are we going to see one of the most wonders in mankind history -- a country with all invincible military power collapse simply because it outstreched itself? Oh, I forgot, it's NOT the first time, right? Soviet is the first, or Roman Empire the first? or Persian? and so on and so on... ...

    I believe all those mediocre also laugh at those who predict these empires will collapse, even the minute before...

    And you know what, AO? only when one great empire collapse, you see all those brilliant, marvelous demonstration by those tiny/little countrys about their potential. History proves that, doesn't it?
    -- I do admit that process could, and most of times, be very, very bloody
     
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  14. Tshering22

    Tshering22 Sikkimese Saber Senior Member

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    You certainly have seen how fast Japanese work, haven't you? They rebuilt their entire country in under less than 4 months back to normal from the last Tsunami attack. As an Indian, I will tell you that a proper highway here in India easily takes upto anywhere between 2-6 years minimum depending on the dirty politics. Japanese re-built a national level highway in 6 days from Sendai.

    By stating that if only the could stop being total puppets they'd be world powers again, I don't think I said something wrong.
     
  15. asianobserve

    asianobserve Elite Member Elite Member

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    No. Your argument is based on the decades old prediction of US collapse. Besides, it seems that you does not know the post-war US-Japan relationship and how strong their bond is. You must understand that after the war Japan was an Asian pariah and practically every country in the World wished it ill, and it was devastated. It was the US who nurtured it back to strength and international significance. The Japanese are not going to easily forget the role of US in their national post-war miracle. Moreover, they know that it is only the US that can guarantee their security as they themselves cannot effectively do so since they are militarily tied up by their Constitution (US imposed but Japanese loved).

    I doubt if India can really help Japan should a real shooting war erupt between it and China... So you'll understand the Japanese mindset now.
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2011
  16. asianobserve

    asianobserve Elite Member Elite Member

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    BTW, the same goes for South Korea.
     

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