April 27, 2007

AXIS OF GOOD--EASTERN DIVISION:

F-22 Tops Japan''s Military Wish List (David A. Fulghum and Douglas Barrie, 4/22/07, Aviation Week)

Top Japanese military officials are quietly but firmly insisting they want the U.S. to release the F-22 to compete for the air force's F-X fighter program, and are adamant about fielding the most advanced air-combat technology available.

Tokyo wants a stealthy fighter equipped with an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar for cruise missile detection and wide-band data links to push additional information into Japan's increasingly sophisticated air defense system. For the moment, only the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor offers all these features.

Access, however, is far from assured, with the U.S. Congress requiring over-sight and approval of any plan for foreign sale of the stealth fighter. [...]

Release of the F-22 is becoming a point of pride with the Japanese, who provide the U.S. forward bases in the region as well as dispersal and rapid deployment options in case of a military confrontation or natural disaster, say U.S. officials. Exporting the technology isn't a concern for U.S. combat pilots, since software packages for U.S. versions of the aircraft will always contain extra capabilities. In addition, U.S. military officials are privately asking administration and senior Pentagon civilians to reconsider the export restrictions, at least for Japan.

"I'm aware the Japanese are interested in the F-22," Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Aviation Week & Space Technology last week. "I'm also aware of our concerns about what we export and don't export of our high technologies. The Japanese are very close friends. We're committed to protecting Japan, so we'll work our way through it. We all need to be concerned about both ballistic and cruise missile defense. It's something that we . . . need to work on."

There also seems to be a Pentagon precedent for meeting Japan's high-tech needs.

"We had an identical situation with the F-15," says a U.S. aerospace industry official close to the program. "It was a point of pride with the Japanese, and even though the F-15 was considered exceptional technology, they had it within two years of initial operational capability in the U.S. Air Force. The U.S. Air Force and the Japanese Ministry of Defense want the sale to take place, but what's missing this time is someone pushing it at the State Dept. level. There needs to be political pressure, but right now there's no vocal advocate."

What may change the formula is the growing awareness of cruise missile technology proliferation and the fact that little attention has been paid to fielding cruise missile defenses in Japan, which is only a few hundred miles from North Korea and China and would be the most vulnerable from a surprise attack.

"Once the Japanese politicians realize that it's a matter of national survival, not just national pride, it could generate support outside the Japanese Self-Defense Force," the industry official says.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 27, 2007 9:57 PM
Comments

Toshiba->Kongsberg->USSR

The PLA will pounce on any opportunity to grab F-22 tech. I would like to see our friends get F-22 but there needs to be extreme security on the tech.

Posted by: JackSheet at April 27, 2007 10:33 PM

Er...there was a lot of fuss in Australia about whether to get the F-35 or something else, with lots of people pointing to the F-22. The issue was settled with the US said they didn't plan to export it to anyone else. But if they give it to Japan...

Posted by: RC at April 28, 2007 6:43 AM

Why didn't Clinton need congressional approval when Lorell was allowed to give/sell missile technology to China?

Posted by: erp at April 28, 2007 7:35 AM

"On April 10, at Langley Air Force Base, an F-22 pilot, Capt. Brad Spears, was locked inside the cockpit of his aircraft for five hours. No one in the U.S. Air Force or from Lockheed Martin could figure out how to open the aircraft's canopy. At about 1:15 pm , chainsaw-wielding firefighters from the 1st Fighter Wing finally extracted Spea rs after they cut through the F-22's three-quarter inch-thick polycarbonate canopy.

Total damage to the airplane, according to sources inside the Pentagon: $1.28 million. Not only did the firefighters ruin the canopy, which cost $286,000, they also scuffed the coating on the airplane's skin which will cost about $1 million to replace.[...]"

Oy!

Posted by: Genecis at April 29, 2007 12:35 PM

Gen, so who had the key?

Posted by: erp [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 29, 2007 2:41 PM
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