Thursday, February 13, 2020

Japan Moves Out in Counter Air

I'm not really quite sure who is running the USAF, but this has been a hell of a year so far. 

Buy them a beer.

Because they decided to take a hit off the USN's transformationalist bong and overcomplicated tanking, they still don't have a tanker to replace Eisenhower era KC-135s.

In a world-class example of slow-rolling, they cancelled the light-attack platform we started asking for about 19-years ago.

...but that isn't all.

One thing we always counted on was being unquestioned in the air-superiority arena. We got so cocky, we stopped production of the F-22 for ... well ... stupid Beltway reasons.

History returned and we found ourselves relying on relic F-15 with nothing to follow. As such, the USAF announced that they will at last do what man of us knew they would have to do, buy new build F-15 to replace the F-15C.

Our friends cannot be looking at us with much confidence, and some are starting to hedge.

Japan is moving smartly with their own domestic modern air superiority fighter.
Japan’s Ministry of Defense has revealed that progress was gathering pace on the nation’s next-generation air dominance fighter program as Asia’s rising superpower, China, continues to enhance its own next-generation air dominance capabilities.
...
It is envisaged that Japan’s next-generation fighter, now named the F-X, will fill the role of the retiring F-15J air superiority fighter aircraft currently operated by the Japanese Air-Self Defense Force (JASDF), with the F-35A and B variants providing the low-end air-combat capabilities currently assigned to the F-16-based F-2 aircraft.
If you think that looks like the YF-23, you're on to something.
...recent changes within the US political establishment, notably the election of President Donald Trump, has triggered a major rethink in the policies that govern America’s arms exports, opening the door for Japan to engage with major US defence contractors like Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman.

Both companies have a history of developing highly capable fighter systems; Lockheed’s F-22 Raptor is the world’s premier air superiority and air dominance fighter aircraft, Northrop Grumman, largely famous for its UFO-like B-2 Spirit stealth bomber and the new B-21 Raider bomber, competed with the Raptor design during the competition to replace the F-15 Eagle in the early ’90s with the YF-23 Black Widow.

The Black Widow, although unsuccessful in the competition, presented the US Air Force and now Japan with an incredibly stealthy, fast and manoeuvrable air frame.

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