The Japanese Defense Minister Yasuo Ichikawa has announced the selection of the F-35 Lightning II as the Japan Air Self Defense Force’s (JASDF) next-generation fighter. The F-35 is produced by Lockheed Martin and powered by Pratt & Whitney’s F135 engine. The F-35A conventional takeoff and landing variant (CTOL) was offered by the United States government with participation from Lockheed Martin. The initial contract will be for four jets in Japan Fiscal Year 2012, which begins April 1, 2012.
The F-35 program will replace Japan’s aging F-4 fleet with highly advanced fifth-generation technology and capability. Procurement of the Pratt & Whitney F135 engine also offers potentially significant engine industrial participation for Japanese industry.
The selection makes Japan the second country to receive the F-35 through the United States government’s Foreign Military Sales process, and makes Japan the 13th F-35 customer.
Global participation is a centerpiece of the F-35 program and essential for its success and affordability through economies of scale. The program is comprised of nine partner nations: the United States, United Kingdom, Italy, Netherlands, Turkey, Canada, Australia, Denmark and Norway. The United Kingdom and Netherlands have ordered test aircraft, and Italy and Australia have committed long-lead funding for their initial operational aircraft. In October 2010, Israel selected the F-35A as the Israel Air Force’s next generation fighter and is scheduled to receive the F-35 through the U.S. government’s Foreign Military Sales process.
“We are honored by the confidence the Japanese government has placed in the F-35 and our industry team to deliver this 5th Generation fighter to the Japan Air Self Defense Force,” said Bob Stevens, Lockheed Martin chairman and chief executive officer. “This announcement begins a new chapter in our long-standing partnership with Japanese industry and builds on the strong security cooperation between the U.S. and Japan.”
The F-35 Lightning II is a 5th Generation fighter, combining advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations and advanced sustainment. Lockheed Martin is developing the F-35 with its principal industrial partners, Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems.
Pratt & Whitney, the only engine manufacturer producing fifth-generation propulsion systems, has designed, developed and tested the F135 to deliver the most advanced fifth- generation fighter engine for the U.S. services and our international allies. The F135 is derived from the proven technology of the only operational fifth-generation fighter engine, the Pratt & Whitney F119, which exclusively powers the F-22 Raptor.
Photo: (c) Lockheed Martin