Japan unveils first stealth fighter

Military aircraft - Post cold war aircraft, including for example B-2, Gripen, F-18E/F Super Hornet, Rafale, and Typhoon.
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mixelflick

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Unread post30 Nov 2017, 17:59

Epic failure and waste of $ for the Japanes to be going this route.

As others have noted, Japan already has a 5th gen fighter (and they're producing licensed copies). Did the F-2 fiasco not teach them? Nothing they're doing isn't already being done/planned for the F-35 program. And good luck to our Japanese friends coming up with a design that sells for around $80 million!
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botsing

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Unread post30 Nov 2017, 18:22

mixelflick wrote:Epic failure and waste of $ for the Japanes to be going this route.

As others have noted, Japan already has a 5th gen fighter (and they're producing licensed copies). Did the F-2 fiasco not teach them? Nothing they're doing isn't already being done/planned for the F-35 program. And good luck to our Japanese friends coming up with a design that sells for around $80 million!

Maybe they do not wish to develop a complete next generation airplane, but only technology that can be incorporated in future designs?

If they can sell any technology that comes out of this project to next generation airplane manufacturers and their customers it might actually be profitable.

It is even possible that the spinoff of this research alone will be profitable enough to keep it going. For example: in The Netherlands it was calculated that every euro invested in space technology paid itself back about 2.7 times, now did you ever hear of any Dutch space shuttles?
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Unread post01 Dec 2017, 00:29

mixelflick wrote:Epic failure and waste of $ for the Japanes to be going this route.

As others have noted, Japan already has a 5th gen fighter (and they're producing licensed copies). Did the F-2 fiasco not teach them? Nothing they're doing isn't already being done/planned for the F-35 program. And good luck to our Japanese friends coming up with a design that sells for around $80 million!


It's all about acquiring knowledge and the japs are really good at it.
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white_lightning35

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Unread post01 Dec 2017, 03:36

nutshell wrote:
mixelflick wrote:Epic failure and waste of $ for the Japanes to be going this route.

As others have noted, Japan already has a 5th gen fighter (and they're producing licensed copies). Did the F-2 fiasco not teach them? Nothing they're doing isn't already being done/planned for the F-35 program. And good luck to our Japanese friends coming up with a design that sells for around $80 million!


It's all about acquiring knowledge and the japs are really good at it.


Correct. The Japancakes aren't looking to build an equivalent to the f-35, because you can't. It just won't be possible to build a fighter of the f-35's capabilities, much less build one at a comparable price, without having 9 countries and three branches of the US military behind it.

I do wonder what the long game is, though. Surely not to make money off a new project? One would think that the f-35 would be bought by those who could. It could be to gain experience, but for what? To build a better next-gen design? The way I see it is that there are two reasons for making a new design. To sell, and to increase defense capabilities. I don't see how the Japancakes could make a profit, so what about the other option? If the f-35 isn't good enough for A-A work, perhaps they think that their new project will be a good substitution for the next US 6th gen?
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Unread post01 Dec 2017, 07:57

botsing wrote:
It is even possible that the spinoff of this research alone will be profitable enough to keep it going. For example: in The Netherlands it was calculated that every euro invested in space technology paid itself back about 2.7 times, now did you ever hear of any Dutch space shuttles?


Well, Google gives this....
https://goo.gl/images/rHcKRj

Seriously though, I totally agree with your statement, the payback in technology is several times more than the investment. When Sweden inversted in the Gripen program, the spinoff from the radar development lead to a 10 year hype in mobile phone development, paying back all of the investment. The fact that the business vanished later on is another story. The radar development is still pretty good on the other hand.
Anyway, I guess it is the same for Japan. Even if they don't build a new fighter engine, the technology can be used in other projects, civil engines, stationary turbines, turbochargers etc. Stealth materials can be used in everything from mobile phone base stations to wind turbine blades etc.

I only wish they could throw some money this way...

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neptune

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Unread post01 Dec 2017, 11:08

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/ ... iEoZolFycw

Japanese firms said behind schedule in joining F-35A production

JIJI
Sep 14, 2017

Japanese production of the F-35A stealth fighter remains stuck on the tarmac, a recent survey by Japan’s Board of Audit shows. The Air Self-Defense Force plans to adopt the cutting-edge fighter jet, but nothing is happening due to several delays in the process, leading the audit board to conclude that the effects of Japanese corporate participation in F-35A production in maintaining and strengthening the country’s defense production and technology base have yet to be fully seen, according to the survey, released Wednesday. The F-35 stealth fighter was developed jointly by nine countries, including the United States and Britain, while Lockheed Martin of the U.S. is in charge of designing and production.

The Defense Ministry decided to procure the F-35 under the U.S. government’s Foreign Military Sales program on condition that Japanese companies are allowed to join in production and repairs;

- Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. was picked for final assembly and checkups
- IHI Corp. for engine parts production
- Mitsubishi Electric Corp. for radar parts production

The three were set to conclude subcontracts with foreign firms partnered with the U.S. government. In the initial plan, the three companies were supposed to join production of F-35s to be delivered to Japan in fiscal 2017 under the fiscal 2013 contract.

MHI moved ahead based on the schedule, but IHI and Mitsubishi Electric had not signed parts production subcontracts as of the end of fiscal 2016. IHI fell behind due to a delay in the supply of materials from Pratt & Whitney of the U.S., an original contractor. In addition, after the U.S. government raised information security requirements, IHI took time overhauling its production system. Mitsubishi Electric failed to meet the schedule partly because of a delay in Lockheed’s orders to Northrop Grumman, another original contractor.

Two F-35s contracted in fiscal 2013 do not have parts from IHI and Mitsubishi Electric. Their parts also may not be used for four F-35 aircraft contracted in fiscal 2014 for delivery in fiscal 2018, sources said. The board of audit said that checks by the Defense Ministry’s Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Agency on the Japanese subcontractors’ manufacturing processes are insufficient, urging the agency to coordinate with the U.S. government to ensure that items required for F-35 production under the FMS program will be supplied quickly. An official of the ministry said, “We sincerely take the board’s advice and will continue efforts to ensure appropriate procurement.”
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Unread post13 Apr 2019, 12:50

News dated February 2019
https://thediplomat.com/2019/02/japan-t ... r-project/

The Japanese Ministry of Defense (MoD) confirmed that it has ruled out the development or local production of existing foreign-designed fighter jets to replace its fleet of F-2 multirole fighter aircraft, a Mitsubishi license-produced variant of Lockheed Martin’s F-16, by the 2030s, according to a MoD source.

The source said that the development and production of Japan’s new F-3 stealth fighter jet will be led by the country’s military aircraft industry with the possibility of collaboration with external partners including BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and Northrop Grumman, Jane’s reports on February 4.


So the F-35 which is an existing foreign designed fighter will not be a candidate to replace the F-2. Instead they will focus on the ATD-X program which still looks like its still in the works.
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mixelflick

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Unread post13 Apr 2019, 14:34

Given what they're going to sink into this, they'd be much wiser in using that $ to acquire more F-35's. Have they not learned their lesson on the F-2? They wound up with a marginally more capable F-16, for what... over $100 million an airframe?

Sometimes, you just need to swallow your national pride and buy what makes sense. To my mind, buying upgraded F-35's (with perhaps new, more powerful engine etc.) is going to be the best bang for the buck.

If they're really adamant about doing something themselves, do what the Israeli's do: Build superior avionics/sensors/weapons systems for use on the F-35. This not only would be cheaper, but after modifying their own jets they'd have a worldwide market to sell upgrades to what, 9 different countries and counting?
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Unread post13 Apr 2019, 14:50

ATD-X is on a superficial level similar in shape to an F-15. Maybe Boeing should work with them to formulate a design that could be leveraged for an F-15SE option. Two F100's clearly puts them into a weight-class well above F-35. The Boeing option could even leverage F119 or ADVENT-level technology if they build engine-bay evolution into it.

F-2A is not marginally better than F-16, it's what Block 40+ should have been. The airframe can carry significantly better warloads and is capable of heavier fuel tanks due to stronger attachment points and clearance.
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Unread post13 Apr 2019, 15:21

No one, as of yet, other than US based weapons manufacturers, have been able to reliably produce stealth planes which are virtually invisible to radar and thermal detection. Not the Chinese with their J-31(details are sketchy but open source intel indicates several flaws), while the Russians have basically admitted that they have a ways to go to perfect the Su-57 pak fa stealth fighter. According to a newsreel I saw a while back(don’t remember the link) the Japaneese government is considering bringing in ‘ foreign experts’ to assist in certain vital components of the X-2 . Not surprising, the aircraft skin coating alone of a stealth plane is made of a special, very expensive paint that shields it from most radar and AWACS systems .That technology is highly classified, but about a decade ago there were reports that the F-35 had problems ‘working ‘ in the rain, implying that said paint was a vital component of the plane.

The smart option for the Japanese is to reasonably counter any realistic threat, aka China and for that the F-35 with strong AWACS and ground air defences are sufficient, for now.
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Unread post13 Apr 2019, 17:10

mixelflick wrote:If they're really adamant about doing something themselves, do what the Israeli's do: Build superior avionics/sensors/weapons systems for use on the F-35. This not only would be cheaper, but after modifying their own jets they'd have a worldwide market to sell upgrades to what, 9 different countries and counting?


Going the Israeli way would be in similar nature to what they did with the F-2. And of course they would also need the US to approve the modifications. Japan wants to be recognized as a country in the same class as China but right now they're more on par with Korea. Personally I consider S.Korea as a top tier country, so no offense to Koreans here, point is, they want to fly something that they designed and developed.

Also we can't simply buy more F-35s to do everything. It is a strike fighter with a very robust air to air capability. its emphasis is on strike. IIRC it is 60% a Strike aircraft and 40% a Fighter aircraft. So assigning it to a pure Air defense role as a replacement for your F-15Js which are dedicated air to air squadrons means you are paying for a 60% capability that you will not use.

Look at it this way, the F-22 is said to be the 2nd best strike aircraft behind the F-35. What if they just kept buying F-22s and assigning them to dedicated Strike squadrons and Wild Weasel Squadrons when the F-35 was in danger of being axed.
Imagine F-22s that are used purely as strike aircraft with air crews training for nothing else except doping bombs. Thats what putting an F-35 to a purely A-A squadron will look like.
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Unread post13 Apr 2019, 19:17

Your percentages are arbitrary and don't really equate to effectiveness. The F-35A can do everything a F-22A can do in an air-air role except supercruise. So F-35 maneuverability and post stall capability might be a little less but it's not tens of per cent less plus it has thorough all aspect IR sensors (DAS) which are enhanced at the front (EOTS). To really go beyond what the F-35A is capable of really means range but the Israelis are working on F-35 CFT/EFT carriage to effect that and no doubt PCA is the final answer to more stealth range.

So that only leaves indigenous modern fighter capability for the main raison d'etre of this new proposed Japanese fighter which will ultimately mean whatever technology they can cobble together at the price they want to spend. Don't expect anything earth shattering from the efforts as they will still rely on the US for their main topline fighters going forward. However as a performance guide this fighter will need to ultimately replace the later F-15MJ whose history and specification is outlined here ...

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/ ... jets-52167
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Unread post13 Apr 2019, 21:15

mixelflick wrote:Given what they're going to sink into this, they'd be much wiser in using that $ to acquire more F-35's. Have they not learned their lesson on the F-2? They wound up with a marginally more capable F-16, for what... over $100 million an airframe?

Sometimes, you just need to swallow your national pride and buy what makes sense. To my mind, buying upgraded F-35's (with perhaps new, more powerful engine etc.) is going to be the best bang for the buck.

If they're really adamant about doing something themselves, do what the Israeli's do: Build superior avionics/sensors/weapons systems for use on the F-35. This not only would be cheaper, but after modifying their own jets they'd have a worldwide market to sell upgrades to what, 9 different countries and counting?


I think for some reason people on here are still not getting the concept of indigenous know-how and jobs programs. It doesn't matter if it costs more than the f-35 and is less capable. That is not the primary concern. In Japan's case this has nothing to do with "national pride", but instead, in their eyes, industrial long-term pragmatism.
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Unread post13 Apr 2019, 23:02

white_lightning35 wrote:That is not the primary concern. In Japan's case this has nothing to do with "national pride", but instead, in their eyes, industrial long-term pragmatism.


No. This isn’t about building a business jet and promoting self sufficiency in local japanese industry, this is about national security. The objective is about meeting security and defense needs, economic considerations such as job creation are a secondary priority.

If the Chinese J 31 were able to outperform and overpower the Japanese X2 and X3, for instance than the demands of local Japanese industry be damned, they NEED a fighter that has capability first and foremost. Ofc they will continue to engage in vigorous R and D to enhance their own fighter’s abilities, but mass production would not make sense until strategic capability has been achieved to at least be on par with their rivals.
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Unread post14 Apr 2019, 10:18

marsavian wrote:Your percentages are arbitrary and don't really equate to effectiveness.


I understand that, what I'm saying is you're buying a burger with a side of fries and you're just eating the fries. Yes, I know they are extra large fries and are more than enough for what you need. But what if you can just buy fries. The Japanese think they can make their own extra large side of fries. Hey it might cost more and might not be as good but its theirs

marsavian wrote:The F-35A can do everything a F-22A can do in an air-air role except supercruise.


The F-35 is the most capable air dominance fighter ever behind the F-22. But having said that, there are things the F-22 can do that Japan or other countries may want as well.

1. Super Cruising at 60,000 feet with 6 BVR missiles makes you almost invulnerable specially if you're a stealth fighter.
2. Carrying 9x in internal bays
3. Supersonic maneuverability which is also useful in a BVR fight. This was a primary requirement for the ATF program.

There are certain luxuries the F-22 offers in A-A that the F-35 just can't do because it was made primarily for strike.
The fighter pilot podcast said it perfectly.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ITCerewkIQE

We were designed for a different mission set like SEAD/DEAD. Where the Raptor was designed solely for air dominance we were designed for a more multi role platform.


If you were given a choice for what to bring in an A-A mission, which one would you choose between the F-22 and F-35. I think most people would choose the F-22. But since it's no longer in production and is banned for export, you have to go with the F-35. I'm not saying its a bad choice but if you had a choice, you'd go with the Raptor on that fight.

Well, the Japanese feel like they have a choice. They can make their own Raptor, maybe even a little better since it will be developed nearly 15 years after the 1st F-22 became operational.

Japan's XF-9 engine has max rated thrust of 33,000 lbs in full AB and TVC nozles that deflect 20 degrees in the entire circumference. Slap 2 of those in a 40,000 pound air-frame and you got your own pseudo Raptor.

Will it be expensive? Sure....but this is Japan, richer than any European country in case we forgot.
The UK, France, Russia and even Turkey are developing their own fighters, why not them.
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