Dangling Marietta’s F-22 in front of the Japanese

You’ve heard this one: A butterfly flaps its wings and a hurricane is spawned a hemisphere away.

Here’s another one: Kim Jong Il, North Korea’s dear leader, points a missile at Japan — and a Lockheed worker in Marietta keeps his job.

This from UPI in Tokyo:

U.S. defense officials are preparing a version of the stealth F-22 Raptor that Japan has expressed strong interest in buying.

While the Department of Defense is working to design an export version of the Raptor, U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, this week sent a letter to Japanese Ambassador the United States Ichiro Fujisaki saying that the F-22 would likely carry a price tag of $290 million.

Japan has made it known it would like to buy 40 F-22s, made by Lockheed Martin and Boeing, so the potential value of the deal is more than $11 billion.

There is competition, of course.

Japanese defense officials are reportedly looking at other aircraft, including Lockheed’s F-35 and the Eurofighter Typhoon, which is manufactured by a consortium of Alenia Aeronautica, BAE Systems and EADS. Neither have all the stealth capabilities of the Raptor, making them substantially less expensive. The Typhoon is estimated to be about $105 million per plane.

“We are still seeking the possibility of acquiring the F-22 but if that does not work out, we will have to consider not just the F-35, but others as options,” Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada told Kyodo News Agency. “As of today, we still want to seek the F-22.”

The UPI article also offers up a link between the current congressional push for continued federal funding and overseas marketing of the F-22, which right now is strictly prohibited because of its radar-evading technology.

Inouye’s letter is seen as a spotlight to keep attention focused on the F-22, but even with congressional and Japanese interest in a deal, it comes down to a decision by the Obama administration.

The Office of Management and Budget, a White House Cabinet-level office, suggested President Barack Obama turn back budget requests for additional F-22s, which could put a hole in production timelines and force the price to Japan even higher.

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4 comments Add your comment

Chris Broe

June 26th, 2009
1:45 pm

Sell the F22 to the Japanese? Great! Let’s give the Japs our best plane. Why stop there? Lets give them the Akagi, the Soryu, and the Kaga back too. And radar. Lets give them the radar the dopes tried to fight without in ww2.

“Those who ignore the axis of evil are doomed to be attacked by it”. George W Bush.

The Snark

June 26th, 2009
3:00 pm

I’m all for it. Let the Japanese be the first line of defense against that wacko Kim Jong Ill.


June 28th, 2009
4:56 pm

The US business/political establishment will sell anything to anybody.So much for the lobbyist being gone.


June 28th, 2009
6:41 pm

Congratulations Chris Broe. Just when I thought I could no longer be surprised by the level of idiocy and bigotry in comments here on AJC, you bless us with that steaming pile…

That your comment is accompanied by a quote from W however, is no surprise at all.