Japan buys 100 F22 stealth fighters

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Japan buys 100 F22 stealth fighters

Wow this is a big thing, Japan becomes the 2nd biggest airforce in the world.

Alarmed by Japan's move to acquire U.S. F-22 stealth fighters, South Korea has hinted it would also seek to procure the future generation fighter jets to cope with any possible security jitters.

Japan is aggressively pushing for the purchase of 100 F-22 "Raptors," which cost $200 million per unit, saying the fighter aircraft is necessary to combat Chinese air force expansion and North Korean missile threats.

U.S. law forbids the export of the F-22, nicknamed the "dream fighter jet," to protect its technology. But Congress seems ready to change the law to lift the ban and the Bush administration already has expressed its willingness to negotiate with Tokyo over the sale of the stealth fighters.

If Japan obtains up to 100 F-22s, it will have the world's second-biggest air force and dominate the skies over the Korean peninsula and China; their operational radius extends as far as 2,000 kilometers, South Korean defense officials and analysts say.

Considered as the most advanced air-superiority fighter in the world, the F-22, built by Lockheed Martin, is equipped with an active, electronically scanned radar for cruise missile detection and is capable of evading advanced air defenses to bomb ballistic missile launch sites.

Indicating the arms deal is near at hand, Japan and the United States conducted joint air force drills on Friday involving a squadron of F-22 stealth fighters temporally deployed at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa.

Japan's push for the F-22 aircraft has sparked security concerns in South Korea, which has already slipped in the regional arms race amid lingering threats from nuclear-armed North Korea.

On Friday, Seoul's Defense Minister Kim Jang-soo hinted that his country would review its plan to buy F-15 aircraft to seek to acquire more advanced F-22 models. Under a 2002 deal, South Korea is now procuring 40 F-15 jets from U.S. aerospace giant Boeing and is expected to purchase 20 more F-15 jets to replace its aging fleet of F-4 Phantom IIs.

In a press conference, Kim said South Korea would introduce the fifth generation fighter jets such as the U.S.-built F-22 and F-35.

"With a bigger budget Japan can buy these aircraft, but we can't at this time. But I agree that we have to possess sufficient numbers of aircraft that are equivalent to it," Kim said. "For the time being, our plan is to acquire F-15 class fighters, but we will introduce the fifth generation fighters at some point. We will make a decision after considering various factors such as the military power balance around the Korean peninsula and overall relations with the United States and North Korea."

Defense analysts say Japan's possible purchase of F-22 fighters would upset the military balance in Northeast Asia and prompt China to jump into the regional arms race.

"Japan's possible purchase of F-22s would tip the balance of power in Northeast Asia," said Kim Kyung-min, a political science professor at Seoul's Hanyang University.

Kim and other analysts expressed concerns that South Korea is increasingly becoming sandwiched between Japan and China.

Beijing has already started developing its own advanced stealth fighters -- Jian-13 and Jian-14 -- to match F-22 jets. In response, Taiwan plans to acquire 60 F-16 C/Ds from the United States to upgrade its air force preparedness.

South Korea has implemented a 15-year military modernization program since 2005 to introduce state-of-the-art weaponry such as F-15 fighters, patriot missile systems and Aegis-equipped destroyers. But analysts say the plan is unmatched by those of Japan and China in size and budget.

Still worse, Seoul's arms procurement plan has hit a snag as the United States has rejected selling its high-flying surveillance aircraft to South Korea.

South Korea has asked the United States to sell its Global Hawks, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), saying it is necessary to boost its surveillance over North Korea.

The unmanned spy plane is considered a key strategic weapon and is under strict export restrictions, meaning that congressional approval is needed before the UAV can be sold abroad.

"South Korea is in a double bind: a nuclear and biological missile threat from North Korea and being trapped between a fierce armament race between China and Japan," Seoul's largest newspaper Chosun Ilbo said in an editorial.


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By netchicken: posted on 1-5-2007

100 Fighters ?? Even the USAF doesnt have that many right now! Hell I dont think they plan on getting 100 F22's anytime soon too. I dont think the JDF truly understands the magnitude of getting 100 F22s. They dont have the infrastructure to use that many effectively. Also there is little point in having those many F22;s and no overall strategic depth in other departments. They should be thinking of going Taiwans way and employing a massive air defense and anti ship net around their country to totally safeguard themselves.
By IAF: posted on 2-5-2007

Hmmm ... these are good comments.

I never realised that 100 aircraft was a big number :)

Thats what playing war computer games does, you lose perspective in reality.

You guys are right, what the use in having 100 aircraft if they sit unprotected on an airfield open to missile attack?

Also, why the big push right now to arm?

The only potential enemy is North Korea, and they are screwed down, unable to get away with anything.

Surely China isn't a threat?

I suspect there are political manoverings in the background, it might be a tactic by the Pentagon to raise money for the war.
By netchicken: posted on 2-5-2007

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