Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe promised in his re-election speech that he would strengthen Japan’s military capability, and if exclusive reports to Reuters are to be believed, he will do just that.
With growing threats from North Korea as well as several sightings of Chinese air force jets over the East China Sea, Japanese military planners decided they cannot wait anymore for a new advanced fighter jet to be developed and will instead switch to buying military equipment directly from the US.
<iframe width="854" height="480" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ybAX0B0vakY" frameborder="0" gesture="media" allowfullscreen></iframe>
The decision to pull out of the F-3 program would mean throwing out a whopping $40bn spent on research and development, so military planners are not too keen to strike a cross through those plans just yet.
A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Defence Acquisition Technology & Logistics Agency reacted: “Regarding the F-3 decision, including whether we will delay a choice, we have haven’t come to any conclusion.”
What is becoming clear though is that Japan’s Defense Forces will soon be adding new U.S. equipment such as ballistic missile interceptors and F-35 stealth planes?
Lockheed Martin Corp’s F-35 jet would be bought next to Raytheon defense missiles as well as Boeing and Textron’s tilt-rotor Osprey troop aircraft.
Overseas partners would also include BAE Systems which would act as the manufacturer of the high-altitude Eurofighter interceptor (which is backed by the British government).
Just last week, President Donald Trump had called on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to purchase the additional US made weapons to strengthen the Japanese military. It would now seem Abe is clearly listening to that request.
Already in 2013, Japan bought $1 billion worth of military equipment through the US government’s Foreign Military Sales system. By last year, that outlay had quadrupled to $4 billion.