August 6, 2007 (by Lieven Dewitte) - The U.S. House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday passed the defense appropriations bill for fiscal 2008 with a provision banning F-22 sales to any foreign nation.
The U.S. has banned overseas sales of the jet to protect its cutting-edge technology which makes it practically impossible for Japan to purchase the advanced fighter jet.
A Defense Ministry official in Tokyo indicated the bill would likely mean Japan must revise its schedule for buying the F-22 or set its sights on another fighter jet to replace the Air Self-Defense Force's F-4 jets.
Japan's Ministry of Defense is now considering delaying the jet procurement project for Japan's Air Self-Defense Force to after 2009, Japan's Yomiuri Shimbun reported.
Alternatively, they could purchase a "fourth-and-a-half-generation jet," and ideally, a "fifth-generation" plane with twin engines and extended-range fuel tanks. Those requirements would include upgraded F/A-18s or F-15s, or F-35 Joint Strike Fighters.
The Japan Air Self-Defense Force has four kinds of fighters: F-15s, F-2s, F-1s and F-4s, the latter introduced in 1973 and slated for retirement in the next decade. The Japanese Air Self-Defense Force plans to decommission the F-4s in 2010 but if the project is postponed, they could see to extend its service life.