Boeing: F-35 hasn’t yet won in Japan

Boeing: F-35 hasn’t yet won in Japan

Despite news reports claiming that Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter will win Japan’s F-X fighter contest, Boeing officials say Tokyo delayed the contract award until next week because it is still heavily weighing all three contestants, including Boeing’s Super Hornet.

“We think what they’ve done is taken another hard look at the full situation and have decided that if they do pick F-35 there are some things that they are not sure of right now, some risk in terms of cost and schedule,” saidPhil Mills, Boeing’s lead salesman for the F-X contest during a Dec. 16 interview. “I personally think that they are taking another look at what’s the real, best move for Japan to make right now.”

Tokyo was supposed to announce the winner of the contest between the F-35, Boeing’s F/A-18E Super Hornet and the Eurofighter Typhoon to replace two squadrons of aging F-4 Phantoms on Dec. 16.  However, on Dec. 14 it was announced that Japan would delay the decision until Dec. 20 because officials in Tokyo “decided they need to go back and look at some more facts before they make a decision,” said  Mills.

He added that both Japan’s defense minister and secretary general of it’s armed forces have denied that the F-35 has won. Mills also denied initial reports saying that Tokyo delayed its source selection until next week because several key decision makers are traveling. “Everybody’s in town, that could be an excuse that somebody said, but I’m pretty sure that it’s more than that,” said Mills.

“We think that they are still working to ensure that they are working to ensure that they have a good final decision before they announce,” added Mills. “We know that the [Japanese] prime minister has not been briefed nor has the cabinet, and those things have to happen before there is a decision.”

Boeing is pitching the Super Hornet as the proven, low-cost, low-risk alternative to the F-35 and Eurofighter.

“I don’t think there is any significant difference between capabilities between the two airplanes,” said Mills, arguing that the Super Hornet is flying today and even has some stealth capability.

“The Block II Super Hornet actually has the same avionics package and weapons system that we had designed for our JSF offering; that includes APG-79 AESA radar and a much different avionics architecture that includes a high speed data network.”

He also played the interoperability card, saying that replacing the F-4s with a jet used by the U.S. Navy would give Japan a modern fighter that is being used by one of Japan’s most important allies. He also pointed out that Both the U.S.  Navy plans to fly its Super Hornets alongside Lockheed’s F-35s. Japan, said Mills, could buy Super Hornets to replace its F-4s in the next couple of years and then replace its oldest F-15 Eagles with F-35s once the JSF program has stabilized.

“If you look at F-18s to replace the F-4s right now, that makes sense, they need airplanes right now, they need high-capability, ow-risk airplanes and they want to do [locally] licensed production,” said Mills. “We can make that happen on-time and on-budget. Let F-35 mature and then maybe replace older F-15s with F-35s and what [the Japan Air Self Defense Force] would end up with a force structure that has a lot of commonality with the two largest air forces in the Pacific region; those being the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Navy. So they’d have F-15s and F-35s common with the Air Force and they’d have F-18s and F-35s, assuming the Navy eventually gets F-35s out here, so they’d have that force structure in common with the Navy.”



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The Lockheed scandle that sank a Japanese government is still remembered in Tokyo, who would want to get involved in a second one by buying the f35 ?

Maybe they started seeing how messed up the F-35 production line is…

“Japan, said Mills, could buy Super Hornets to replace its F-4s in the next couple of years and then replace its oldest F-15 Eagles with F-35s once the JSF program has stabilized.”

That’s the option I would choose. Its logical and practical.

Sounds like the sane way to go if you need a short term replacement

Sounds logical, but also a marketing pitch from a competitor. For either replacement aircraft, real issue is when do they need them? Foreign JSF buyers are down the production line, with U.S. getting the big buys first.

Thank you DOD buzz blog. Defense tech blog kept saying they were dumping the F-15 and I kept saying untrue just really old airframes. Japan will modernize most of her F-15s to F-15J Kai models. With the F-35s make a good deterrent against China.

When opposing fighters close to kill each other it is called a “knife fight” that situation should be avoided as much as possible with stand off sensors and BVR missiles-However, if a fighter pilot is in a knife fight and his opponent is at six O’clock and closing for what was once called the Israeli Death Shot– where the gun sight pipper gets as big as the enemies helmet before pulling the trigger-a last ditch maneuver was called for –this is commonly known as “guns D” —the only move left was to flail about in the most erratic fashion possible–I think this article is the verbal equivalent of Boeing trying last ditch “Guns D”–It makes absolutely no sense tactically or strategically for the JSDF. Modernizing backward-now there is a very bad idea.

Easy…F35 is messed up and everyone is now finally starting to hear the truth. Country’s like Australia and now hopefully Japan are starting to think rationally about what they need, what it will cost and when it will be ready and are putting down the LM/USAF koolaid cup. The entire Apollo moon program took less time than LM has taken to build a few dozen F35’s all of which have numerous issues. What we are hearing about F35 problems is just the tip of the Iceberg because they have yet to hit the real meat of the testing that is required. Put down the koolaid and take off your rose colored glasses and admit that what Australia has done (and what Japan should do) is the right answer at this point in time.

Your quip about “modernizing backwards” is silly when they are talking about replacing F-4 Phantoms with Super Hornet or Typhoon etc.. If you want an example of a really bad idea think “concurrency”.

Whatever you do do it fast or China devours you.

The F-35 production line is not messed up.

And contrary to Boeing’s spin, Japan delayed its announcement because the official who is to make the announcement has a prior engagement on the date they planned to make the announcement.

It is neither logical nor practical. Japan is not Australia & does not already have F/A-18s. The only 4th/4.5 generation fighters that would at all make sense would be an F-15E derivative (K, SG, SE…) or additional F-2s (Japans own F-16 derivative).

No the F-35 is not messed up. What you are hearing now is small potatos compared to the issues previous generations of fighters have had & overcome.

It is YOU who should put down the anti-LM/F-35 Kool-Aid & take off your blinders and admit that the F-35 program is progressing quite well (yes having to redesign the aiframe in 2004 has cost 5+ years & $6+ billion). Note that what Australia did was lease 24 F/A-18F as a stop gap between the EARLY RETIREMENT of its F-111s & when it expects to have sufficient numbers of F-35s — the only thing that at all made it “right” was that Australia already has/had F/A-18s so there is little transitional costs with the F/A-18F.

LOL You need to cut back on the Medication. It will be your undoing.….

Name an aiforce anywhere that wants to reduce its airforce numbers by 80% and not change costs
or wants to pay 500% more for the same number of aircraft and you’ve found the f35s core customers

I guess when you are talk about small potatoes problems compared to previous generations of fighters you must mean the F-22 or the A12 (look how they turned out). A12 was canceled long before it was allowed to get as far behind and over budget as F35 is and as for F22 everyone knows how that turned out (late, massively expensive/over budget and barely operational). Like it or not what has gone on with F35 (concurrency, massive cost overruns, years and years of delays, technical issues on top of technical issues etc.) is not normal and the program is indeed messed up. LM’s strategy seems to have been to use the concurrency scheme to make the program “too big to fail” and the taxpayers are the losers again. As for Australia — if the F35 was not messed up they would not have had to have a stop gap per their original procurement plan. They looked at what was going on and made the right decision. If you think being years late, having to redesign the airframe and being billions over budget is “progressing quite well” I would hate to hear what you think a messed up program really looked like !

Personally I think an upgraded F-15 variant, (maybe the F-15SE without the weapons bays) and the F-35 would be a pretty ideal fighter force for a country like Japan.

The F/A-18E or F/A-18F would work, but the Japanese have already been operating the F-15 for a long time now.

I would concur with William’s proposed pathway as the more reliable and cost-effective solution compared to highly risky, uncertain and delayed F-35 path.

An F-15J+ perhaps… with improved AESA, MAWS, improved EW and IRST pod. To make it more tactical for multi-role capability, one might consider developing a more aerodynamic CFT of reduced capacity — maybe 500 gal each side with semi-recessed launch stations for MRAAM class. Very clean and reduced drag option. They could probably receive first few units by end of 2015 if ordered in early-2012.

Either way, F-35 makes poor choice for replacing F-4 as F-4’s need to be replaced by reliable, proven model in the near-term; not in 2022 etc when operational block III F-35 squadrons might achieve IOC status.

Thus, another possibility would perhaps be to LEASE F-18E/F similar to RAAF’s super hornet lease as short-term F-4 replacement and then over-lap with mature block IV F-35 procurement starting 2018, domestic 5th gen model, or an eventual F-15SE-type class + next-gen UCAV to replace old F-15s and Super Hornets once the lease term expires.

The F-2 while being the most logical candidate to have upgraded and have continued with production is apparently off the table for one licensing or industrial reason or another.

So your F-15E derivative would make sense, but so would the Super Hornet or Typhoon in the short-term, albeit supplemented by a mature follow-on block IV F-35 down the road once better proven for reliability and effectiveness and available to replace the older F-15 force.

If Japan buys Super Hornets now I am so going to rub it in your face.

Why would they buy Super Hornets over F-15 series aircraft which they already operate?

The F-15 and F-35 option is known as the yo-yo mix — Hi-Lo-Lo-Hi — the high performance low cost F-15 coupled with the low performance high cost F-35. Japan are better off just getting F-15s.

Um.. . lets see.… Acquisition cost, O&M cost, mission capability, all might just play into the equation. Whatever the case, dont bet on the Japanese not to have a VERY good reason for whatever they end up doing. Whatever the final selection, it might end up being a bow wave of quite a few third party actions.

Yeah, in the final analysis that’s probably the right call.

The F-2 or a F-15E derivative would make sense because Japan already operates F-2s & F-15s (plus other air forces in the region) so it could procure a number of them as a near/short term stop gap without the additional expense of a new platform.

I mean F-14, F-15, F-16, F/A-18A/D, F/A-18E/F, F-22, Typhoon, Rafale & Gripen. You may be too you to have every learned of the problems any/all of them faced.

The Australian F/A-18F stop gap was due to the early retirement of the F-111, NOT to any problems with the F-35.

Concurrency is no way makes the program “too big to fail” & even if it were three separate programs each would still be “too big to fail” because even then each would still be the future of each respective service’s combat aircraft.

Try looking as what the program has done in the last year and a half instead of delays & cost overruns that occured years & years ago.

The combat performace of the F-35 will be greater than the F-15 could ever dream of & in about 3 years it will be less expensive too.

I’m not saying that the Super Hornet would be a bad choice. It would certainly be a fine F-4 Phantom II replacement. Indeed it is somewhat cheaper to build than a F-15E+. Yet already having all sorts of F-15 related logistics and support in place would take a big chunk out of those costs. Plus the latest F-15Es can do pretty much everything the F/A-18 can, minus carrier operations which isn’t a concern for Japan.

Not that this matters anymore, they already made their choice it seems.

True on that last point, to no surprise. The Japanese are, at least for now, very focused on “quality” vs “quantity” thanks to their constitutional limits, and are willing (essentially required!) to pay for that kind of technical superiority. In terms of pure offensive capablity, the F/A-18E might be equal or perhaps even a hair better in some aspects than the F-35, but.… it does not have that “stealth” capabiility, and rightly or wrongly, that is viewed as a very strong contributer to the air-to-air mission.

Now if the F-35 program does get pulled down by all of the nay-sayers and budgetary assassins, .… . it will be interesting to see where the Japanese end up.

I propose Japan buy 50 Cessna 182RGs (turbocharged of course) and two sets of really high-end binoculars per aircraft. Then fly around when the weather is nice and whale watch or whatever. Europe has sat comfortably under the US defense umbrella and been just fine for decades. My advise to Japan is to just relax. Breath in, breath out. Be like the Europeans and go bankrupt despite having defense budgets the size of the Alabama National Guard. No offense AL, i have many family members there.

Boeing probably jealous theirs lost the bid. What’s Boeing’s business on F-35 anyway?

The UK should do the same and purchase F18 E/F and Fit ICCALS in lieu of EMALS at least then they would have a workable system and proper ship bourne AEW.

Wy sell F35’s to Japan they should sell them to China and make trillions!

Hasn’t China already stolen the F-35 plans, so they wouldn’t pay someone esle to make them„,LOL

WHAT Lockheed scandale

i read what you wrote … showed three others and NONE of us can work out what your point is .…..

The real answer for Japan … as it always was for us, before the Clown in Chief came along … was and still is the F22. And yes before I get some smart ass answer from someone telling me that we don’t sell the F22 — I know that (but that too could have eventually changed if Bozo the Clown had not killed the F22 production line).
My point is .… the answer for us (and eventually all of our close allies) should have been that the F22 .… the F22 and the F22. Its just not a contest between the F22 and anything else on the planet for the next 40 years.

The lockheed bribery scandals of the ‘70s are best known as involving the Netherlands and European partners, but Japan bought the F-104 and on the civilian side, L-1011 instead of an MD product. In terms of scale, probably not that big.

In order to dabble in super-expensive stealth aircraft, you need a good base of modern fighters to build on. From what I see, Japan doesn’t have that. They should go for the F/A-18, but still keep a stealth aircraft in mind for when they (and they will) get pressured to update to stealth aircraft by their allies.

Ha! They don’t have any money, anyway.


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