F-22 attractive to Japan as missile threats grow
Aerospace Daily & Defense Report
David A. Fulghum - Japanese military officials are eyeing the F-22 Raptor as an antidote to growing regional missile threats, Aviation Week & Space Technology will report on April 23.
The Lockheed Martin-built fighter is expected to become a key element in missile defense because it can detect and destroy small cruise missiles and also evade sophisticated air defenses to bomb ballistic missile launch sites. Whether Japanese law might be interpreted to allow the country's Self Defense Force to use the bombing to defend against ballistic missiles is still an open question.
Japanese military officials are quietly but firmly making it known they want the U.S. to release the F-22 to compete for its air force's F-X fighter program, and that they are adamant in wanting to field the most advanced air combat technology available.
Tokyo wants a stealthy fighter equipped with an active electronically scanned radar for cruise missile detection and wideband data links to push additional information into Japan's increasingly sophisticated air defense system - a package offered, for the moment, only by the F-22...
Total blankety-blank, expletive-deleted and gag-me-with-a-fundoshi nonsense.
Excuse me, but what cruise missiles are threatening Japan so?
DPRK forces have none--and no one except maybe the Iranians would be stupid enough to sell them any.
China has low-flying ship-to-ship Sunburns and its indigenous Silkworms and variants for anti-ship warfare (most of which are used for coastal defense, so Japan would have to be attacking China for these missiles to see use). It has no cruise missiles designed to attack Japanese land targets. Oh sure, the Chinese could send a Song or Han class attack submarine-based with its wave-skimming YJ-8s to pop up 30 nautical miles from Japanese territory and fire away. But that would sort of leave a somewhat minimal amount of time for detection, identification, tracking, interception and destruction, wouldn't it?
The Russians are co-developing with India the Brah-Mos hypersonic cruise missile. While it has a 300 km range, making it a threat to the Japanese mainland even from outside the EEZ, it flies at over Mach 2, making it a damn difficult target even for an F-22 to knock down. Besides, the Indians wouldn't co-develop a weapons system that is to be aimed at Japan, would they?
So what's the deal here?
Could it be that the manufacturers of the F-22 in the United States, having been stiffed by the U.S. Air Force, are desperately seeking foreign buyers for their $130 million-per-plane budgetary horror?
A plane that cannot cross the International Date Line without all of its systems suddenly crashing, rendering the plane deaf, dumb and blind ?
And what is the likelihood that a cash-strapped ASDF is going to buy the world's most expensive fighter jet without there being significant Japanese input in its manufacture?
When the GOJ military budget is shrinking in nominal terms, with no rises in sight? (hat tip on link to Observing Japan)
My guess is Kyūma Fumio, annoyed at having to retract his too honest assessment of the run up to the Iraq War, is getting some measure of revenge by pulling America's collective leg, with the Financial Times acting as his unwitting facilitator.
Later - Now the above is not to say that a couple of squadrons of F-22s would not be welcome in an Armageddonesque air battle over the southern part of the East China Sea involving hundreds of Chinese Sukhoi 30s backed by YJ-83 cruise missile packing JH-7 fighter-bombers against Japan's 203 F-15s and 40+ flyable F-2 fighters.
However, no persons aside from seriously twisted war gamers are contemplating such an epic, multi-level battle. For one thing, what would set such a conflict off?