F35 - Money well spent.

I think that that would depend on whose list you're reading!

Regards,
MM
Fair cop....the briefing also mentions the Franco/German effort as being a possible spoiler.
 
I leave that kind of analysis to the lunatics on the Brexit thread :) I'm sticking to the F35 safe space.
Where it gets difficult is with ITAR, because US kit is in lots of components. A good idea to try to build an ITAR free a/c but quite hard. We've worked alongside France on lots of projects, hasn't soured yet.
 
Where it gets difficult is with ITAR, because US kit is in lots of components. A good idea to try to build an ITAR free a/c but quite hard. We've worked alongside France on lots of projects, hasn't soured yet.
I entirely agree that UK/Fr are critical strat partners. Although I'm not entirely convinced our interaction is always carried out in good faith.
 
I entirely agree that UK/Fr are critical strat partners. Although I'm not entirely convinced our interaction is always carried out in good faith.
We stitch each other up, it's normal. We've learnt a bit since the Jag collaboration.
 
I believe it's more like 2035 due to the funded upgrades for their F-15s and planned for their F-2s. (...)
My understanding of the situation was that the upgrades to the F-15s and F-2s to extend their life is one of the options being considered, but to what degree or whether it actually happens depends on what longer term direction they pursue.

To address it more directly, to develop their own all-Japanese plane will take time, so they need to extend the life of their existing ones out to the mid 2030s. That's where the upgrades come in.

However, that plan is being called into question on the grounds of cost and whether the Japanese can afford to wait that long for a new plane in the face of improved Chinese and Russian capabilities even with the upgrades to the F-15s and F-2s. I understand that the first of these issues is considered the more important one.

The other option is to replace the F-15s and F-2s sooner with a plane based on a foreign design with Japanese improvements. Hence the proposals for an F-22/F-35 hybrid, something from Boeing, and a Typhoon++. The introduction date for this would be targeted for sooner than the previous option, and with less risk in terms of the schedule. In this instance reports have implied that there would be fewer upgrades done to the existing planes, as they would be phased out sooner.

The Japanese haven't decided yet which way they want to go, so they are evaluating options. The first option provides the greatest benefits to industry but costs more and requires waiting longer to get new planes. The second option provides fewer benefits to industry but is expected to cost less and provides new planes sooner.

So, the existing plans for the F-15 and F-2 upgrades may get revised because the assumptions they were based on are being questioned and may change radically. That doesn't mean that no upgrades at all would happen, but they may be less extensive.

Canada faces similar issues with respect to our F-18s. Upgrades can keep the existing planes flying out to the end of the 2020s, but the longer the life is extended the more extensive the upgrades required and the greater the financial and technical risk. Hence there were plans for an "interim" fighter until the Boeing-Bombardier battle intervened.
 

Flight

LE
Book Reviewer
I believe it's more like 2035 due to the funded upgrades for their F-15s and planned for their F-2s. I suspect that we'll also see Japan either convert some of their F-35 orders to STOVL.



I think you've misread my post; I specifically said they couldn't.

Regards,
MM
Well someone is confused then as you also said they weren't serious about an incremental development.

Which only leaves a joint venture / new development which they didn't receive any useful responses to.

The latter of which is simply not possible on a $40 billion budget.

RFIs for which were 2035, but the more recent ones, existing design, for 2030.

Wouldn't surprise me if they brought it forward again depending upon Chinese developments.
 
Well someone is confused then as you also said they weren't serious about an incremental development...
I said that in my view they weren't interested in developing an existing type 'such as the Typhoon or F-22.'

The upgrades for in-service types such as the F-15 and F-2 are either funded or pretty well planned.

...Which only leaves a joint venture / new development which they didn't receive any useful responses to...
As I mentioned, in my view this is their main aim but I would suggest that it's far too soon to dismiss.

Regards,
MM
 

Flight

LE
Book Reviewer
Japan Seeking Proposals for New Jet Fighter Based On Existing Western Design (excerpt)

"Japan expects specific proposals for designs based on existing aircraft," said one of the sources. The two previous RFIs did not attract any detailed proposals, he added.

Your view, that they weren't, only appears to be vaguely true historically.

They didn't get much interest for a joint development or collaboration. And the budget doesn't cover it. And the plane would be in service later than they'd like, and it would mean very expensive upgrades to their current fleet.

Unless you are basing your optimism on service issues or confidence in LM's ability to produce a hybrid design on time and budget, with all the associated IP issues, then I can't see any good reason for it.
 
I said that in my view they weren't interested in developing an existing type 'such as the Typhoon or F-22.'

The upgrades for in-service types such as the F-15 and F-2 are either funded or pretty well planned.
(...)
I suspect the upgrades are only a bridge to something else. They don't provide an end point in and of themselves. It's what will follow those which is at question.

I also suspect that the reasoning behind developing something based an existing type is to be able to make use of some of the engineering design they have produced so far and to maintain in being the existing engineering teams rather than scrapping all that and simply license building a complete foreign design.

So the upgrades would not themselves be the final solution, they would just be a means of helping to get to the actual intended solution.

They may end up joining the European based consortium which is looking at developing a new fighter, but whether the timing of that lines up with Japan's requirements is a good question.

Something like that though would be negotiated via a different process than the one used to request proposals from industry, and so won't be one of the options we see presented along with the rest at this point.
 
...Your view, that they weren't, only appears to be vaguely true historically...
I've not said that they weren't, only that they weren't serious:

...I do not therefore believe that Japan is serious about developing an existing design such as the Typhoon or even F-22...
I’ve been privileged to have done quite a bit of work with the Japanese military in recent years. My views have therefore been formed from chatting at length to JSDF personnel (particularly JASDF and JMSDF) on numerous occasions. So, to be clear - and irrespective of what the aviation press may write - my own interpretation of Tokyo’s intent is as follows:

1. I believe that their ultimate aim is to co-develop an entirely new type for service from the mid-2030s with one or more foreign partners, preferably not the US.

2. In the intervening period, my understanding is that upgrades to the F-15 (the first of which are already budgeted for) and F-2 (which are being planned), together with ongoing procurement of the F-35A will be sufficient to meet requirements. The latter will, I suspect, be augmented by procurement of sufficient F-35Bs for their carriers.

3. However, Japan is keen to keep its options open and develop close military, technological and commercial relations with a wider variety of nations than has historically been the case.

...They didn't get much interest for a joint development or collaboration. And the budget doesn't cover it. And the plane would be in service later than they'd like, and it would mean very expensive upgrades to their current fleet...
Building relations of the sort I mention above takes time, particularly for the naturally conservative and formal Japanese culture. There is actually considerable activity going on behind the scenes with a number of nations. Similarly, there are several other nations who aspire to maintaining an aerospace industry with partners; the obvious ones are ourselves, France and Sweden so there is certainly a deal to be done.

In terms of upgrades to their existing types, I’d argue that the cost would be far less than developing entirely new variants of in-service types such as Typhoon and the FA-18 for the 2030 timescale, and then having to establish and maintain separate logs and training support.

Several F-15 operators are in the process of developing quite extensive upgrades to the type and the JASDF have a fairly mature road map for the majority of their F-15Js and DJs. The first elements of that is already funded. Their F2s are newer airframes and Mitsubishi hold the majority of the IPR. Therefore, I see no reason why the type can't remain in service well into the 30s.

It’s also worth remembering that Japan has a history of getting the most out of their jets. Their F-4s and RF-4s are still in service and similar longevity was achieved with their F-86s which were retained until the early 80s.

...Unless you are basing your optimism on service issues or confidence in LM's ability to produce a hybrid design on time and budget, with all the associated IP issues, then I can't see any good reason for it.
I’m not quite sure what you’re getting at here as I’ve already stated that the hybrid F-22/F-35 design is, in my view, merely a spoiler designed to hinder the chances of a non-US design. However, I'd caveat that with the comment that, in the (sadly unlikely) event that F-22 production restarted and the type was offered to Tokyo, I believe Japan would still opt for that type.

I suspect the upgrades are only a bridge to something else. They don't provide an end point in and of themselves. It's what will follow those which is at question...
Agreed.

...Something like that though would be negotiated via a different process than the one used to request proposals from industry, and so won't be one of the options we see presented along with the rest at this point.
Agreed. I think we only differ in our views of what form the upgrade will take.

Again, my own view - albeit one gained with a little insight into their military’s thinking - is that Japan will centre their future air combat capabilities on the F-35A and F-35B. These will be augmented by upgraded variants of the F-15J and F2 to reduce the number of types in service. I expect a programme to develop an entirely new type to be established with an international partner early in the next decade for service from 2035 ish to replace the F-15s and F2s; I interpret the RFI to develop an existing type to primarily be the Japanese testing the water for this ultimate aim.

However, I stress again that those are only my personal views.

Regards,
MM
 
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Might get a bit of stick for this, but has it been released as to what level Replica could be classed as an 'existing aircraft'?

It looks like it could be the Iranian Qaher-313 of the west but without the bull*** but I would be suprised if Replica wasnt made aerodynamic and flyable (if it were built to fly), no point in designing a stealth aircraft that couldnt fly.

Could be a better 6th Gen base than Typhoon which IMO is not at all low observable, even with the AMRAAM recesses.
 
Japan will take delivery of the three F-35As they have at Luke AFB, AZ on May 26, to fly then to Japan join two Japanese assembled Lightnings at Misawa AB, and with three others to be delivered from Mitsubishi at Nagoga-Komaki form Rinji 302 Hikotai (provisional 302 Sqn).
 
Might get a bit of stick for this, but has it been released as to what level Replica could be classed as an 'existing aircraft'?...
Some of the data may be relevant. However, I suspect that that would be fairly limited given subsequent work by BAeS and the Japanese on Low Observables, avionics and 'active' structures. The Japanese have some very nice technology, little of which I suspect was evident in the X2 Programme.

Regards,
MM
 
Might get a bit of stick for this, but has it been released as to what level Replica could be classed as an 'existing aircraft'? (...)
From the perspective of the Japanese? Not really. I think the point of looking at existing aircraft is to cost out something for which a lot of the components are already tested and certified, have production tooling built, and are in production. That will avoid much of the time and capital cost involved in building a design from scratch. They can instead simply buy parts from existing suppliers, add their own parts (e.g. engines, radar and other selected electronics), and assemble it in Japan.

There are no guarantees that the Japanese will go this route, but it is one of the options they are taking a serious look at.

I brought this up originally to point out that whatever the Japanese decide to do in this instance may influence how many F-35s (and of what type) the UK decides to buy eventually. See my previous posts for my reasoning on this.

I want to emphasise again that I'm not making any predictions in this case. I am just pointing out the problems involved in making predictions for the UK without taking factors like this into account.
 
Ultimately, the F-35 was always the low of a hi-low mix.

The F-22 is not, and never was the hi, it’s last generation manufacturing technology..

F/A-XX or whatever it’s called this week will be the hi end fighter, the plane to replace the thousands of legacy F-15’s, and everyone’s positioning themselves for the workshare.

Lockmarts got the fighter-bombers, Northrop’s got the bombers, Buggins turn means McBoeing have the lead dibs on the next generation fighter.
 
How much of the F-35 is British built?

I am posting via mobile phone and cannot copy and paste. But the value to British industry does need to be emphasised. Commonly you hear that 10% or so of the aircraft (in value) is British, for the F-35B the percentage is a lot higher due to the Rolls Rolls LiftSystem and other V/STOL things.
 
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