The Japanese Air Self-Defence Force (JASDF) has plans to accept bids from which it will choose about 40 stealth fighter jets this month, a Ministry of Defence spokeswoman has said.

The JASDF procurement plans form part of its strategy to enhance its air defence capabilities to counter military developments in China and North Korea.

The new aircraft, with deliveries scheduled to begin in 2016, will replace Boeing F-4 Phantom aircraft, according to Bloomberg.

The suppliers vying for the project, estimated to be worth more than $4bn include Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Eurofighter.