Skip to comments.Typhoon, F/A-18, F-35 could duel in Japan fighter bid
Posted on 09/23/2011 7:56:19 PM PDT by sukhoi-30mki
Typhoon, F/A-18, F-35 could duel in Japan fighter bid
By Philip Ewing Friday, September 23rd, 2011
They dont want to say it out loud, but heres what Boeing and Lockheed are thinking right now: Not again!
According to a report this week in the Financial Times, Japan says it would be open to choosing the Eurofighter Typhoon as its new front-line fighter jet, setting up a possible three-way battle between it, Boeings F/A-18 Super Hornet and Lockheeds F-35 Lightning II.
This would be the second time in recent history that American defense giants have battled Europe for a major Asian opportunity, after Indias Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft. And as we all remember, that program did not end well for the Americans. But India is India, and this is Japan Americas staunchest Asian ally, right? They buy stuff from the U.S. all the time, so this should be a lock for either Big B or Lockheed, right?
No not according to the FTs Mure Dickie, who wrote this:
In an interview with the FT, [new Defense Minister Yasuo] Ichikawa said Japans alliance with the US would not be a major criterionin deciding between the Eurofighter Typhoon and US rivals Boeings F/A-18 Super Hornet and Lockheeds F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
After years of delay, Tokyo is now set to decide before the end of December on the purchase of around 42 fighters, a deal estimated to be worth more than $6bn and that could have far-reaching implications for the competing aircraft.
Analysts have in the past generally assumed that Tokyos close military alliance with Washington and post-war practice of relying almost exclusively on the US for imports of advanced weapon systems meant Eurofighter had little chance of winning the deal. However, Washingtons decision not to allow Japan to buy Lockheeds stealthy and highly capable F-22 Tokyos favoured option appears to have opened an unprecedented opportunity for the Eurofighter consortium.
Adding India and Japan as members would be huge for Club Eurofighter, although neither deal is final yet. There are elements in the aerospace game with fingers crossed that Indias competition will fall apart and open up another opportunity, and its at least theoretically possible the U.S. also could give Japan what it wants, too.
Heres a scenario for you: Lockheed is still assembling the very last F-22s at its plant in Marietta, Ga.; it has said the no-kidding final fighter would roll off the line in November. If Congress acted quickly to lift the ban on foreign military sales of the Raptor, then Lockheed rushed over to Tokyo with a bid, it might check a lot of boxes: A Foreign Military Sales windfall for the U.S. and Lockheed; a newly strengthened security relationship with Japan; and a potential strategic game-changer in the Western Pacific, where Chinas J-20 would not be the only fifth-generation game in town.
Its all possible, but it probably wont happen Congress will not lift its FMS objections on the F-22, which it has kept in place since 1998, and if this issue even made it onto lawmakers agendas, they might not be able act before Japans December deadline. (Congress is so dysfunctional we could soon face another prospect of another possible government shutdown.) Also, Boeing might have something to say about all of this, too.
Still, it could happen what do you think? Is it time to reconsider foreign Raptor sales while theyre still feasible?
Gadzooks, it is not Congress, it is the DemocRATS... in Congress that are screwing things up!
Comparison to India is not correct. The Eurofighter/Rafale were pitted against the F-16C/D and Super Hornet, not the F-35.
The F-35 represents and entirely different level of combat aircraft technology versus any of them. The JASDF drooled over the F-22......they aren’t going to skip a level below the F-22 and go with Typhie/Rafie. After the F-22, the F-35 is simply the most advanced manned combat airframe in existence today. Japan spends the bucks and buys the best they can get. I don’t know why they would diverge from that philosophy and buy aircraft from a previous generation.
The Eurofighter/Boeing folks will contest the claim that they belong to an older generation. Or more accurately that the F-35 is a true 5th generation fighter.
It should be noted the Typhoon has a fairly low radar cross section, thanks to extensive RCS testing by BAe Systems at their highly-secret test lab in England. And pilots who've flown the Typhoon laud its excellent maneuverability, thanks to its design taking advantage of the pioneering research done by the Rockwell-MBB X-31 test plane.
In this case, it has nothing to do with party politics. The F-22 was originally barred from FMS in 1998.........just think back a bit and remember what Congress looked like in 1998.
Personally, I agree. I don’t want to see the F-22 being handed over to foreign governments. The F-35 is a mammoth weapon system. This is an airplane that combines the fuel capacity and engine power of the original A/B Eagle with the LO of the F-22 and all in an airframe the size of the legacy Hornet.
The F-35 is the defender of America’s skies for the next 40 years. With that in mind it’s certainly more than capable of being the primary aerial weapon of allies around the world. Israel, one like Japan who always gets their hands on the best they can, seems happy with the F-35. Australia, much like Japan, lobbied hard for the F-22 even all the while they really couldn’t afford to buy a number sufficient to provide the coverage they needed. Canada also too looked at the F-22, went with the F-35, but I think would have been more than perfectly served by the Super Hornet.
They may, but they’re full of baloney.
The EFA was in full mock-up in 1983. The design, apart from intake and some additional minor details, was set while the USAF was still playing with its first production F-117s. The Super Bug (which I am a HUGE fan of) is a development of 1970s aircraft design. MD/Boeing managed to successfully include some “stealthy” qualities to them but they are still applied to a 20 year old airframe.
These are not the same as an airplane designed and built in the post-F-22 world by the company who built the F-22.
Well they do have a point or two. Can the F-35 supercruise? Does it have thrust vectoring? About advantages like sensor fusion, pretty much most Western fighters have it to varying degrees now.
The F-35 might have a lot of thrust but its also pretty fat. And its not exactly as stealthy as the F-22; concepts like the F-15 Silent Eagle are being promoted precisely to compete with the F-35 on frontal stealth. The F-35 while very advanced, involves a lot of compromises. And it’s showing up on costs and capabilities. Five years ago, everyone from Eurofighter to Boeing to Saab had given up on the futurer fighter market; now they seem to be far more confident.
Supercruise? Only in lightest load and config.
Thrust vectoring? Modern radar and missile tech are lapping the idea of that. Why does the airplane need to do things that the radar, sensors, and missiles can do? The day of the daylight dogfight is gone. Tactics, technology, and common sense will not have opposed manned airplanes within visual sight of one another. There’s no need for it. Their fight is long over before then.
In the late 1950s/early 1960s engineers believed we had reached this exact point. Vacuum tubes didn’t get it done. Modern tech is forcing it upon us.
If there is no need for it, why exactly is it that the F-22 and the Russian and Chinese stealth offerings using thrust vectoring? Even Eurofighter and Saab are actively considering it. Either their designers/users are dumb, or they see a use for it. Same goes for supercruise capability. While estimates vary, a Eurofighter which can supercruise with even 4 air to air missiles (the usual figure) has operational advantages over its rivals.
F-22. Gripen. Typhoon. Rafale.
When were these aircraft designed? The 1980s. Twenty-odd years ago aircraft engineers were still relearning the U.S. lessons of Vietnam while at the same time having no idea what computerization was to behold.
The F-35, designed a decade later than any of them, dashes away such trivialities. When the pilot can literally see a 360 degree view of the world regardless of the physical mass around him.........when the missiles he can employ are 20 times as agile as his aircraft.........when the radar and sensors can watch tse-tse flies mate.....what is left for the airplane itself to do?
A Eurofighter may be able to supercruise “dirty” with external weapons. How is that better with an F-35 at near supercruise with internal weapons? Stealthiness is not about absolute invisibility. It’s about time between detection and reaction. A B-2 is not invisible to radar. Nor is an F-22. They simply return a signature later (and closer to the target) than the compared non-stealthy alternative.
Flying fast and doing airshow maneuvers doesn’t get it done anymore. You have to be as quick as possible, as least detectable as possible, while bringing the most, and having the most advanced munitions as possible. to win the fight.
When is the last time a Su-27 “Cobra” maneuver won any aerial fight? It’s great at air shows but it has zero practical use in modern aerial combat. None.
The only thing the F-35 appears to be dashing/gashing now is the US defense budget. The F-22 and the Euro-canards you mentioned might have been designed a decade earlier but they also were designed to be better than all likely adversaries. Unlike the F-35 which was only expected to be more maneuverable than the F-16.
The level of sensor-sophistication and weaponry that you talk about for the F-35 is also becoming available for its European rivals. So what exactly will give it a decisive edge? There is a reason why all of the partner nations from Great Britain to Australia to the Netherlands have started becoming edgy over the JSF programme. If the F-35 offered the kind of advantage you talked about, Eurofighter wouldn’t have bothered contesting the Japanese contract.