This arrangement would include a version of the jet that can launch and land vertically. This feature could cause Japan to turn some of its existing ships into aircraft carriers so that hunters can operate at sea – a capability they have not had since the Second World War, a source close to the F-35 program said CNN ,
"With the short-range vertical landing capability, you can now operate at sea and be able to penetrate areas and reach at a shorter distance, which is an important skill," the source said.
Takeshi Iwaya, the Japanese Defense Ministry, would not confirm the deal but said it would buy a "highly skilled fighter plane" if its "defense-preserving plan" was approved by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in December.
According to the ministry, almost half of the existing F-1
A source close to the US F-35 program confirmed to CNN that a deal for Japan was accepted to buy about 100 of the stealthy single-engine F-35s.
The Pentagon announces the world's most advanced avionics, engines, and weapons as the "most affordable, deadliest, most viable, and most survivable aircraft ever used."
About 40 of the order would do this The F-35B, capable of short launches and vertical landings on a warship, confirmed the source.
The Japanese Defense Minister added credibility to the report, saying that Tokyo is seriously considering upgrading at least one of its Izumo helicopter destroyers to essentially turn one or both of the 27,000-ton ships into aircraft carriers.
"As this is a valuable device that we already own, I think it is desirable to use it for as many purposes as possible," said Iwaya in a press conference after a Cabinet meeting.
Nikkei News Service The value of the jet fighter is $ 8.8 billion and the value of each jet $ 88 million.
The step that critics claim is in violation of the pacifist constitution of the country, marked by the expansion of the Chinese Navy in the Pacific. A Japanese defense white paper in August highlighted concerns about a changing security environment in China.
"China's rapid modernization of the People's Liberation Army, the expansion of operational capabilities and the unilateral escalation of activity in areas near Japan are leading to significant security concerns in Japan the region and the international community, including Japan," the newspaper said.
Speaking to CNN, Timothy Heath, senior defense analyst at RAND Corp., said China's ambition to dominate the Asia-Pacific region has "huge consequences" for Japan. "
" It is in Japan's interest to build a capable military that keeps China from premature action and to help other countries balance political and military power against Chinese power, "Heath said.
At the same time At times, Tokyo's unconventional attitude to trade and military alliances has left Tokyo unsure of the extent to which the US has sustained its international relations since the end of World War II in recent months.
President Donald Trump has repeatedly called for East Asian military allies to defend their own defense, annoy the end of a US military presence in the region, and encourage Japan to buy more American weapons.
In particular, the F-35 was a favorite of Trump, who has publicly promoted the international public The sale of the aircraft was a success for its administration and praised foreign leaders who had bought the fifth-generation aircraft.
Japan's commitment to buy additional F-35 is in part an attempt to reaffirm its military partnership with the US, said the source close to the program, which noted that the aircraft not only improved skills, but also represents an improvement in skills strengthens the strength in Allied partnerships.
"The President has attached great importance to traveling around the world in military partnerships, industrial partnerships, and Japan is certainly a strong partner to the US military, with a strong focus on the F-35 from Japan , I think The result of the very strong military partnership between the US and Japan, "the source told CNN.
"Push the Front of Maritime Engagement"
. Sources said the new Japanese-American deal would include two of the three F-35 variants, the A and B models. The third, the F-35C, is intended for use on the largest aircraft carriers in the US Navy.
The F-35As, of which Japan already has 10 in its fleet, is another 32 aircraft in a pre-existing order a take-off and landing runway.
The F-35Bs are suitable for short takeoffs and vertical landings, which means they can use smaller airports or Flattop warships. The US Marine Corps flies the F-35B in front of amphibious ships of the US Navy, which are sometimes referred to as aircraft carriers, since they are about half the size of the carriers of the Nimitz class of the US Navy.
Japan's Maritime Self Defense Force owns two of these types of ships, the Izumo and its sister ship, the Kaga, can each carry 14 helicopters and would need to be converted to accommodate the F-35B aircraft.
While the main task of the Japanese military remains the defense of its home islands, this could "push the front line of maritime engagement further," said Corey Wallace, Asia Security Analyst at the Free University of Berlin, reporting Japan's potential takeover of F 35Bs.
"Will China disturb – probably, but only insofar as it further complicates the projection of Chinese military power into the southwestern sea area around the Japanese Ryukyu Islands," said Wallace
China's twin-engine J-20, seen as Beijing's answer the US F-22 and F-35 entered the People Liberation Army Air Force fleet in February. It is not known how many J-20 Chinese are currently deployed in their fleet.
Carl Schuster, a former captain of the US Navy and now a professor at Hawaii Pacific University, said the F-35B on a Japanese warship "added a new dimension" and "a deterrent factor" to the security situation in the Pacific.
But Schuster said a converted Japanese carrier would probably only carry six to eight F-35Bs, compared to two dozen jets being used on Chinese carriers now in sea trials or in production.
Schuster also warns that it could take three or four years for newly ordered F-35s to reach the Japanese fleet, unless Tokyo's orders take precedence over other buyers of the aircraft.
Twelve nations are in the F-35's program alongside Japan and the US, two of which – Australia and South Korea – are in the Pacific, according to Lockheed Martin, who builds the aircraft.
Japan has the advantage that it is one of the three final assembly points for the F-35, the others are in Texas and Italy.
And it is the common ground of the F-35 between Japan and the US USA and their allies bring strength in numbers, but also understanding.
Wallace said the future could potentially drive the US F-35 off Japanese ships and Japanese F-35s off American ships.
One of the other two nations operating the F-35B, the United Kingdom, has had US versions of the jet operated by their HMS aircraft carrier, Queen Elizabeth.
But Wallace also warned against overemphasizing the importance of a Japanese aircraft carrier.
"This unique new aircraft carrier will not be able to carry enough airplanes or fire planes with enough guns to carry out strikes or bombing in a way that really threatens China's mainland, given China's strength of defense," he said.
What F-35Bs will do is extend the options for Japanese defense planners.
"The F-35B can operate from modified runways or airfields, which gives the ASDF more options for operating smaller, more distant Japanese islands on emergency." This is very important for survivability and response, though the main airfields are put out of action in a satellites attack, "he said.
Junko Ogura of CNN contributed to this report.