Delays, Prices Jumps may jeopardize F-35 lighting stealth fighter orders : Japan


Phat Cat
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Feb 23, 2009
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TOKYO — Japan's defense chief said Feb. 29 the country may cancel its $4.7 billion order for the U.S.-built F-35 stealth jet if Washington fails to stick to the proposed price and deadlines.

Defense Minister Naoki Tanaka said a formal contract for the initial four units — out of a total of 42 jets — that Japan wants by March 2017 was expected to be signed before this summer.

But he told parliament: "If the situation comes to the point where (the U.S.) cannot work out the proposal by that time, we will have concerns for Japan's defense capability. We would have to look at either canceling the contract or opting for another model."

Japan in December chose Lockheed Martin's F-35 stealth jet for its next-generation mainstay fighter over two other jets — the Boeing-made F/A-18 Super Hornet and the Eurofighter Typhoon.

Tokyo plumped for the jet to replace its ageing fleet of F-4 fighters, despite a series of technical setbacks and fears that the as-yet unproven F-35 might be badly delayed.

With a price tag of about $113 million per jet, the F-35 is the most expensive weapons program in Pentagon history and has been plagued by cost overruns and technical delays.

Earlier this month, Japan's Defense Ministry sent a letter to the Pentagon asking it to keep the proposed price and deadlines for delivery.

Japan, which places its security alliance with the United States at the center of its foreign policy, has long depended on U.S. manufacturers for its military hardware.

Japan: Delays, Price Jumps Jeopardize F-35 Order | Defense News |

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