So Japan May Ax its F-35 Buy If Costs Go Too High

So, you’ve probably seen the news that emerged late last week out of Japan saying that Tokyo may reverse its plans to buy F-35 Joint Strike Fighters if the cost grows too high.

One could take this as an ominous sign for a program that’s seen too many delays, reduced or slowed buys and cost overruns to list here. Or one could take the stance that an industry official I spoke to recently and say that it’s simply the Japanese trying to gain an early advantage in cost negotiations for the two squadrons worth of F-35s it plans to buy. I hate to say it, but that explanation makes some sense. At the same time, it’s not unthinkable that the island nation is genuinely concerned that the plane’s price tag will grow to be too high.

That’s all about that until some more news breaks on the Japanese JSF purchase.

  • Anonymous

    At least somebody cares about costs for their military budget. Because we sure as hell don’t.

  • EJ257

    Why can’t Japan just negotiate a fixed price per jet. The way the system works right now is insane. Just go to LM and say we’ll buy the jet for $136M a copy. If it exceed this you (LM) will pay the overhead or we cancel without penalty.

    • Josh

      Sounds just a little too logical doesn’t it?

  • Musson1

    The F35 is becoming the Chevy Volt of jet fighters.

  • Chops

    According to Aviation Week the Japanese military is supposed to recieve their first 4 F35s in 20017 at the contract cost of 122.6 mil per plane.I seriously doubt that LM is going to honor that price now that per unit cost is 10mil more,the folks at LM are pricing themselves right out of business.Remember the original price per F35 was supposed to be 65mil. per plane and now it’s up to 136mil. per plane,no wonder a lot of their customers are having second thoughts.

    • fewrwrw

      did you write year “20017” on purpose? seems about right at current pace

  • Chuck

    Funny thing is that F-35A = 120 mil, Sukhoi PAKFA T-50 = 60 mil. The Russian jet sure is inferior to the F-22, but to F-35A? Similar, at best. And they can get 2×1. Japs could invest and buy the Russian jet and smash LM in the face. If you think that buying Russian is a bit too far, South Koreans showed interest in PAKFA and they already buy some Russian stuff. Maybe the US wouldn’t allow Japan to buy Russian, but with the current climate of Japs wanting Americans out of their lands, who knows? Whatever it is, the F-35 is ruin

  • ForrestCantrell

    If the Japanese were to join with some other potential F-35 customers, say Australia and Canada, and the three countries were to insist on a negotiated fixed price now, they would have much more leverage with LM. They would also be well served to look now at other aircraft options and put them in place should LM balk. It strains credibility that nations would commit to an aircraft that is unproven and for which the price is unknown (other than it is expected to continue to go up).

    • SJE

      Australia might. OTOH, America just agreed to more of the Australian designed LCS, so perhaps its fair play all around?

      Long term, Australia wants to be firmly in the “friends with USA” camp, even if it overpays for some fighters.

  • @E_L_P

    “Or one could take the stance that an industry official I spoke to recently and say that it’s simply the Japanese trying to gain an early advantage in cost negotiations for the two squadrons worth of F-35s it plans to buy.” My nomination for that “industry official” is either the maker of the jet, or one of its bought and paid for cheerleaders. Probably Loren Thompson.

  • Morty

    Who cares? The last thing we need is other countries with the same tech we have.

    • Alex

      You’re overlooking the fact that Japan would be supplied with an export model F-35.

      • passingby

        LOL!!! So Japan is going to get an even crappier version of the already crappier-than-crap F-35?????????

        LOL!!!!!!!!!! (sorry, can’t help it.)

    • Josh

      Yeah it would be horrible to supply our closest allies with our technology huh? Look up the acronymn AUSCANNZUKUS. It’s an intelligence classification referring to the highest grade intel for Australian, Canadian, New Zealand, British and US eyes only.
      Should tell you something about how close those alliances are.

  • Lance

    I doubt Washington will allow Japan to axe millions form JSF there come up either with a excuse or a solution. However Japan can buy and upgraded the F-15Js to new F-15SE and solve there whole issue and cheaper than this wasteful JSF anyway. The F-15 is better than a F-35 and is better than current Russian and Chinese fighters for now. a F-15SE would make it even better.

  • mike

    I think in part, it is a currency issue. The Yen id slipping against the dollar. most impressively. Priced in dollars, that plane grows more expensive

  • tee

    I wonder who will cancel their orders first Norway or Australia, then of course Japan will follow suit shortly after. LM has less than a year to get “Everything to work Perfectly” Ya right, and then get ahead of schedule with substantial cost reductions on a per aircraft basis or “The Official Spiral of Death” for Foreign buys will begin .

  • Tim

    Can’t wait for the next PR campaign. F-35 to be main feature of the next Top Gun movie:

    http://www.flightglobal.com/blogs/the-dewline/201…

  • JRL

    Maybe if the US DoD continues to ‘relax’ KPPs (As it just did with the ‘A’ minimum range requirement, and the ‘B’ minimum STO requirement) LockMart just may be able to deliver the thing to Japan for the agreed upon price.

    It won’t actually be good for much, and they won’t be able to do much with it, but at least it won’t be such an expensive way to fill a hangar…

  • Johnny Ranger

    Good for them. They should just buy Super Hornets and be done with the headache.

  • Tim ul

    This plane will be the ruin of Japan’s and the West’s Air Forces.

    The US should have tripled its f22 fleet and
    bought a bunch of silent eagles . As for the RAF and the rest buy more Euro-Fighters fitted with Aesa.

    The JSF is a badly designed bomb truck , with over rated avionics that may seem brilliant on video but in reality will offer very little advantage in real combat .

  • Black Owl

    The administrator is censoring me again…

  • JRL

    Let’s see how quickly the above post gets deleted. For nothing…

    This ineptly run Mickey Mouse place is not worth wasting further time on.

  • JRL

    Gone already. And no links, insults, profanity, copy-pastes, nada…

  • JRL

    Maybe if the US DoD continues to ‘relax’ KPPs (As it just did with the ‘A’ minimum range requirement, and the ‘B’ minimum STO requirement) LockMart just may be able to deliver the thing to Japan for the agreed upon price.

  • Black Owl

    I’m on the verge of boycotting this website. It is censoring my posts that are critical of the F-35 and I am highly offended by this. If anything this has inspired me to write and publish a paper about the faults, weaknesses, shortcomings, and failures of the F-35 and other things that are good reasons for the USN and USMC to not buy the F-35C or F-35B. I already have more than enough material and practice to write such a paper and arguing with the people on this website as well as seeing the administrator delete my posts has only further convinced me of the importance of bringing these facts to light since they are true and people need to see how much money would be wasted if this program continues. They also need to see the alternatives to the need for strike aircraft that are good enough to get the job done, such as the upgraded Super Hornet and the Silent Eagle. My paper writing starts… now.

    • Mastro

      Strange - the 1000+ negative posts on the F35 manage to get through-

    • Chops

      Don’t forget the F16 XL-with block 60 upgrades a thrust vectoring engine-supercruise capability and a 40% increase in weapons load and 60% increase in range this would be a true world class 4.75 gen fighter bomber.Why they never followed up on this great plane i’ll never know.

    • melcyna

      Look on the post above, if you are getting the ‘your message have been deleted by the admin’ immediately after posting then that’s the automatic system being fizzled again and stuck in the auto delete state.

      If you seriously think someone would waste their time scouring through forum post message numbering in thousands to censor post then you have a bizarre understanding on how internet works.

    • crackedlenses

      Please make your paper accessible to us when you’re finished; I may not agree with you, but you seem to know what you’re talking about, and I’m interested to see your position as a whole, rather than in pieces on this blog….