The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency has notified Congress of a potential sale of four F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter (JSF) aircraft to the Government of Japan.
The estimated $10bn foreign military sale (FMS) programme also includes an option to purchase 38 additional F-35 conventional take-off and landing (CTOL) aircraft.
The proposed package includes the aircraft's electronic warfare systems, command, control, communication, computers and intelligence/communication, navigational and identifications (C4I/CNI), autonomic logistics global support system (ALGS).
It also includes an autonomic logistics information system (ALIS), a flight mission trainer, weapons employment capability, F-35 unique infrared flares, reprogramming centre, and F-35 performance based logistics.
The package also consists of software development/integration, flight test instrumentation, aircraft ferry and tanker support, tools and test equipment, personnel training and training equipment and other related elements of logistics support.
Lockheed Martin and Pratt and Whitney Military Engines will serve as prime contractors and the potential aircraft sale will enhance Japan's air-to-air and air-to-ground self-defence capabilities.
The Lockheed Martin-built F-35A CTOL aircraft was selected as the Japanese Air Self-Defence Force's next-generation mainstay fighter in December 2011 to replace its aging F-4 fleet.
The multirole F-35 JSF will be powered by Pratt and Whitney's F-135 engine and is equipped with an electro-optical targeting system that provides long-range detection and precision targeting.
The JSF programme is principally financed by the US, with additional funding from the UK and seven international partners, namely Australia, Canada, Denmark, Italy, Netherlands, Norway and Turkey.
Image: Lockheed Martin-built F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter is powered by Pratt and Whitney F-135 engines. Photo: courtesy of JSF.