The Japanese National Security Council and Cabinet authorised acquisition for 105 additional F-35s beyond the already approved 42 F-35s in the Japan Programme.
Total procurement is now established at 147 F-35 aircraft which will make Japan the largest international customer in the F-35 Programme.
Japan originally selected the F-35A to replace Japan’s aging F-4 aircraft. Japan’s latest decision to further extend the requirement by another 105 F-35s to replace 100+ pre-MSIP F-15Js reflects Japanese confidence in the jet, say Lockheed.
In addition to the 42 F-35As already authorised, Japan also approved for the first time, acquisition of a STOVL version. Expected mix of the additional 105 aircraft will be 63 F-35As and 42 STOVL jets to be produced and delivered in the future.
Lockheed Martin is committed to offering each variant of the F-35 aircraft at the lowest price possible year over year and in the most cost efficient manner. The company said in a statement:
“As the F-35 aircraft system continues to mature and demonstrate outstanding mission effectiveness and survivability in today’s operational environment, we are also laser focused on lowering overall life-cycle cost of operating and sustaining the aircraft as well.
We’ve already reduced costs by more than 60 percent since the first production contract and are on a path to deliver and sustain the F-35 for equal to or less than legacy, less capable aircraft. We’re proud to partner with the U.S. and Japanese governments, as well as our industry partners, to deliver and sustain additional F-35s to meet their critical defense and security needs.”