Jump to content

Giappone: ritorna l'F-X?

Guest intruder

Recommended Posts

Guest intruder

Japanese Patient For Tacair Opportunities


Jun 23, 2009




By David A. Fulghum





Japan’s government is showing patience in pursuing leading U.S. aircraft for its F-X program, which is supposed to produce about 40-50 high-performance, fifth-generation fighters.


The F-X is needed to replace legacy F-4J Phantoms. They have already been replaced in Okinawa with F-15s in the last few months because of the high operational tempo in the southwest area of responsibility, which extends to within about 150 miles of China.


“That doesn’t do their F-4s much good, but it does move them out of front-line units,” one U.S. official there says. “Do the F-4s have enough life left in them to get to F-35? My understanding is that they are trying to pace them more conservatively to get them there. That’s why at bases like Naha [Okinawa] they replaced them with F-15Js.”


Some Japanese officials still voice interest in buying an export version of the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor, despite a congressional ban on Capitol Hill and disfavor high in the Pentagon. Meanwhile, Boeing has unveiled a stealthier F-15 Silent Eagle to compete with Lockheed and other rivals.


As alliance partners, both Japan and the United States are concerned about interoperability, especially now as they are facing an increasingly complicated security environment in Asia and tight budgets everywhere. So they need to do more with less. Interoperability, joint basing, training and operations are part of the solution.


There have been 36 F-15Js upgraded with active electronically scanned array (AESA) digital radars in the last two years, say U.S. officials with insight into the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) program.


“I know Raytheon has been working very closely with the JASDF to extend the F-15’s effectiveness,” a U.S. official says. “In the absence of money for the F-X program in the midterm defense plan, they were able to get upgrades for the F-15.”


However, aerospace industry officials say the JASDF is upgrading its single seat F-15Js with APG-63(v1) radars that provide digital reliability but not the AESA effect. It retains a mechanically scanned antenna. Japanese officials are looking for money to add the AESA antenna, which would convert the radar to v3 models. The further modification practically triples the radar’s range to 125-150 miles and makes it possible to lock on small targets, like cruise missiles, and stealthier aircraft.


“I don’t think they want a bridge aircraft,” the U.S. official says. “They want to move directly from the F-4 to the F-X. But a lot of it is going to depend on many unknowns — the aircraft they choose, the timelines for production and delivery.”


At the same time, there is also a sense that Japan may have hobbled itself in its capability to defend the disputed islands in the East China Sea by agreeing to an anti-cluster bomb effort.


“Japan has [lost] defensive capabilities by joining the Oslo Convention for banning cluster munitions,” the U.S. official claims. “This isn’t going to enhance Japan’s ability to defend its homeland. It was a [politically] popular position and very sensitive issue here. Now the defense ministry will have to dispose of all its cluster munitions and won’t be able to deploy them anymore in ways that make operational sense. The ministry of defense is looking at the options.”

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...