Ever since I was young I always had a fasincation with flight. I have studied aircraft since I was a boy. I have played many flying games. I also had a very strong fasination with Military Aircraft in particular. Japan had started up an F-X procurement program that would choose its next generation fighter aircraft to replace its aging vietnam war era F-4EJ Phantom II's (You know the big flying bus). There were 3 planes who signed up for the bid, The joint fighter project between Austrian, German, Britain, and Italian Eurofighter Typhoon, The Mcdonnell Douglas now Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, and finally the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II. Each consortium had a very valid argument to why Japan should buy their aircraft for Japan's future air superiority needs. For the Eurofighter consortium they argued that Japan would have a powerful air superiority solution and would be able to help develop the eurofighter even furthur and even produce the aircraft locally. The Boeing company offered the carrier capable Super Hornet. Boeings Argument was that while they would not be as able to produce as much of the aircraft like the Eurofighter they would have a proven multi-role platform that is operated by the United States one of the main allies of Japan since the end of World War II, helpful since most of the JASDF's is American made. Boeing also argued that it would have better maratime capabilites than other competetors (since good ol nippon-koku is an island nation). Lockheed Martin's offer was the only 5th generation contender, the F-35 Lightning II. The stealth fighter, the only one still in development, was untested and has been plagued with problems, financial difficulties, and cost overruns seemed an unlikely winner in the F-X compitition.Yet before the compition had started Japan wanted to Purchase the F-22A Raptor but to no avail as the US (being the paranoid son's of a whore's we are) barred the Raptor from export (sorry Japan we do not want you to get the Raptor because it might turn into a trecherous alien robot). The compitition has ended today and the winner is the F-35 Lightning II. It has been seen as a well needed shot in the arm for Lockheed who have been working like hell to keep the project progressing. It also could set off a flag as South Korea who also has a third phase F-X program would also want to purchase the F-35 because South Korea would come under intense scrutiny if they bought an older gen. aircraft. It would also help Japan develop the know how on how to create its own 5th gen project namely the Mitsubishi ATD-X ShinShin (not to be confused with the ASF-X Shinden II the ficitional DLC fighter designed by the co creater of macross). You gotta wonder if the Namco also had enthusiasm for the Lightning II as well since the 3rd color for the F-35 is in Japanese Air Self Defense Force colors.
- UPDATE*: With the choice of the F-35 Lightning II for the F-X it also might have ramifications. Namely that Japan operates "Helicopter Carriers" in the JMSDF it could possibly add the STOVL F-35B Lightning II to the helicopter carriers as a way of adding some military control in the Pacific for Japan.
- UPDATE**: Appearantly the F-35 Program is a victim of 'acquisition malpractice' thanks to the Pentagon. In other words they appearantly started buying the F-35 before it was even ready to fly. Its flight testing had not even started and because of this the price tag is steadily increasing. So much so that Japan has threatened to cut their purchases entirely. As of right now Japan has not done so and probably wont. This is what happens when the Department of Defense budget is millions of dollars/0
Well thats all for todays rant hope you enjoy it. See you in the skies and Gotta Stay Fly!