Lockheed Martin says Japan’s selection of the F-35A Joint Strike Fighter will benefit Australia’s New Air Combat Capability (NACC) aspirations by providing greater weight to production numbers at the same time as Australia’s aircraft are being built, as well as providing lower logistics costs in our region.
Speaking from Fort Worth by phone to Australian Aviation on December 20, vice president, F-35 Program Integration and Business Development Steve O’Bryan said the Japanese order “reinforces the value proposition” of the JSF, and provides “a credible fifth generation strategic deterrent” in the region that will be “relevant for the next 40 years.”
Australian suppliers to the F-35 global supply chain will also benefit from the order as Lockheed Martin’s forecast order numbers are realised.
Lockheed Martin also hopes the JASDF order could be a precursor for a much larger order to fulfil the nascent FXX requirement to replace more than 150 JASDF F-15Js from 2020. O’Bryan said that, while Japan’s FXX timings hadn’t been finalised yet, upcoming programs such as the FX-III requirement in South Korea and plans by Singapore to replace early F-16s were looking promising for the F-35A. He said Japan, Korea, Singapore, Australia and USAF, US Navy and US Marine Corps forces based in the region would “stand shoulder to shoulder” with the aircraft, and that “all the world’s great air forces are making the choice of the F-35.”