Monday, July 20, 2009

Japan's hopes for F-22 await US Congress

The U.S. Air Force isn't alone in watching the outcome of the congressional debate over the F-22 Raptor with keen interest. Japan's hopes for the fifth generation fighter likely also rest on keeping the production line alive for a few more years, as a prerequisite to overturning the ban on sales, even to proven allies.

"Japan's long-standing quest to obtain the F-22, however, may be shot down amid the intense political struggle over the F-22s very future," reports the Washington Times. "President Obama and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates have made termination of F-22 production at 187 planes a symbolic goal of their effort to cut defense spending and reorient U.S. military strategy."

The article's key paragraph: "While Japan may also purchase the F-35, there are two important reasons Washington should fully support Japan's goal to acquire the F-22. First, the F-22 will be the only combat aircraft capable of countering China's expected fifth-generation fighters. Second, selling Japan the Raptor may become a critical nonnuclear means for Washington to help Japan deter a China on its way to becoming a military superpower by the 2020s. If Washington cannot provide decisive nonnuclear means to deter China, Japan may more quickly consider decisive deterrents such as missiles and nuclear weapons."

Read the entire article here.

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