Lockheed makes groundbreaking proposal to Japan
Lockheed Martin is the first company to answer the tender of the Japan air force for a new air superiority fighter. And Reuters reported that the U.S.-based manufacturer came with a proposal never seen before: a hybrid that could use both designs of the popular F-35 Lightning II and, more surprisingly, the F-22 Raptor, despite the latter being banned for export by the Congress.
This strong decision is a way for the United States to help one of its closest allies to stay ahead of both China and Russia which are known for their repeated intrusions inside Japan airspace. A fifth generation fighter using both designs would be a strong deterrent against both the Chinese and Russian air forces.
Definitely burying the idea of an indigenous fifth generation plane, the next Japanese fighter will use a foreign design but integrate several Japanese components such as engines and the radar. The project will most likely see Mitsubishi Heavy Industries collaborate with a foreign manufacturer who will be awarded the contract.
In the meantime, Japan is buying F-35A to replace its aging fleet composed of the indigenous F-2 and F-15J, both also based on U.S. designs and manufactured by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.
In 1997, the U.S. Congress made a decision not to export the F-22 despite strong interest from Japan, as technologies inside the fighter were judged too critical. This forced Japan to design its own fifth generation plane, the X-2. Despite a successful maiden flight, the project was deemed too costly.
Japan is still awaiting proposals from other foreign planemakers, especially Boeing and British BAE Systems, respectively manufacturers of the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and the Eurofighter Typhoon.
Boeing delivers first Block III F/A-18 Super Hornet to the US Navy
Boeing delivers the first of 78 Block III F/A-18 Super Hornets to the US Navy....
Rolls-Royce F130 engine selected by USAF to power the B-52 Stratofortress
The United States Air Force picked Rolls-Royce to provide powerplants for its B-52 aircraft for the next 30 years....
Taiwanese jets scramble as Chinese aircraft enter Taiwan’s air defence zone
Two dozen Chinese military aircraft flew near Taiwan on Thursday in an apparent show of force. ...