July 7, 2016

A Japanese Assembled F-22 Industrial Strategy

The prototype "X-2" much smaller than the final F-3 (resulting in a Japanese built F-22). Photo courtesy Defence Aviation, April 23, 2016 which advises: MHI “have been developing the aircraft’s airframe since 2008 with cooperation from 220 domestic companies and guidance from Japan’s Acquisition, Technology & Logistics Agency (ATLA) at an estimated cost of  [only!] 39.4 billion Yen ($322 million)…and is built as a successor to the F-2 fighter jets...developed jointly between Japan and the Untied States.
---

Anonymous in Comments July 1, 2016 advises the prototype "X-2" (or ATD-X or "Shinshin" = "Spirit of the Heart" (above)) of what will be the F-3 is equipped with XF5 engine (max. power ca.5ton) has been developed
-  also see HUFF POST Japanese Edition.
-  there are 20 pictures of Shinshin in SankeiBiz. 

The operational F-3, labelled "fifth generation" or "sixth generation fighter" (presumably a UAV herder) is much bigger than the X-2 and will be equipped two very powerful engines (max. power per engine 15 ton) and excellent stealth performance with radar cross-section (RCS) smaller than a  sparrow.

This Reuters via Yahoo article of June 29, 2016 describes the process of the Japanese MoD mainly offering US companies Boeing and Lockheed Martin (notionally European countries as well) up to $40 billion to develop 100 air superiority fighters.
PETE'S COMMENT
Japan clearly wants export-to-Japan versions of the F-22 in what Japan calls the "F-3 fighter program" and many other designations. MHI appears to be the designated Japanese prime domestic contractor. 

Lockheed Martin strategy

Lockheed Martin's strategy appears to be to induce customers to buy the F-35 first and then a lower spec F-22 will be released for some valued customers. See my article of 2008 about Lockheed's ability to game all sides - including the US Government. 

Clearly the F-35 is inadequate as an air-superiority fighter, not only for Japan but for other sophisticated users, like Israel and Australia. It is no surprise that Lockheed Martin has drafted in Congressional lawmakers and the  Pentagon into this beneficial-for-the-US sales strategy: 

Japanese industrial strategy

For decades it appears Japan has followed a "We'll tell the US we'll spend $Billions re-inventing the wheel, instead of paying the US to send us high levels of technology transfer. So while we are reinventing - the US loses. But with this technology we will build US designed fighters under licence. So it is a win-win situation for Japan and the US."

This F-3 strategy has worked with the earlier F-1s and F-2s decades ago:

-  Mitsubishi F-1 which looks like a Jaguar-Phantom hybrid which helped induce technology transfer 
   for the F-4EJ "Kai" Phantom II.

-  Mitsubishi F-2 (was FS-X or SX-3) is a F-16 look alike which induced more technology transfer to

   Japan to build F-15Js.

So the Mitsubishi F-3 is a gesture symbolising re-invention of the F-22 with the aim of inducing Lockheed Martin to hand over much F-22 technology (for a great deal of Yen of course) so Mitsubishi (MHI) can build export spec F-22s in Japan.
Anonymous and Pete

12 comments:

Josh said...

For a large number of reasons the F-22 line will stay forever closed.

First, its far more expensive compared to continuing F-35 production. It would require a fair amount of redesign as the components of the program are simply no longer available, and the batch of aircraft produced would be very small drastically increasing the cost of each airframe when measured against the redevelopment and start up costs.

Second, restart would threaten the F-35 program. The USMC and USAF have pinned their hopes on it, even if the USN is more nuke warm and carrying on with F-18 purchases and developing a new jammer as fall backs.

Third, minimally the US would have to change federal laws to allow for this:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockheed_Martin_F-22_Raptor#Ban_on_exports


Its worth noting this entire line of thought is also predicated on the idea that the F-35 isn't suited/adequate for high end air 2 air users - this is not a universal opinion. In any case what will actually occur is that the US will sell Japan and Australia the F-35 and no further F-22 production will occur.


Cheers,
Josh

Peter Coates said...

Giday Josh

Yes certainly it is more difficult to produce more tried, tested currently operational fighers - F-22s.

Than producing constantly unready, non operational, F-35s.

And naval aviators all know one jet engine is safer than two.

Regards

Pete

Anonymous said...

Hi Pete,

Bashing the F-35 seems to be a popular pastime of many, but I am confident that it has been a good choice for Australia, Japan and many other partners who at one stage may have been tempted by export F-22's (Not that the RAAF ever expressed interest in F-22's that I'm aware of).

I bring your attention to this from http://www.airforcetimes.com/story/military/2016/07/06/clever-girl-3-star-general-compares-f-35-jurassic-park-velociraptor/86774970/

"The Marine Corps recently put the F-35B Lightning II through its paces in a highly-contested airspace combat scenario. The result? The joint strike fighters were able to destroy all 24 enemy targets without taking any losses.

“It was like 'Jurassic Park,' watching a velociraptor,” Davis said. “It kills everything. It does really well.”

Speaking before the House Armed Services subcommittee on readiness Wednesday, Davis said that fourth-generation aircraft like the F/A-18 Hornet and EA-6B Prowler would get shot down by their pseudo aggressors when running similar training scenarios.

“We just ran a normal scenario we would have with our legacy aircraft," he said. "Generally about half to a third of the airplanes don’t make it through.”

Thats a pretty big endorsement of the "can't climb, can't turn, it will be like beating baby seals" F-35.


On shipping matters in any medium to high intensity conflict the new LHD's look like pretty big targets. I understand that they will usually be travelling with air warfare destroyers for aggressors with altitude, but what about below the surface? Is Collins class up to the task with the endurance and capability of listening and responding while at speed? Will the DCNS offering be any better for a task that is carried by SSN in navies that have that capability? Thanks

Anonymous said...

Aviation Week has a good article on the benefits of stealth although long wave radars and IRST were not taken into account.

That said, it is not clear what high end targets were used in the USMC training that sparked the velociraptor analogy. still today, a decade after, the F-35 is still not yet ready with limited flight envelope and weaponry. USAF is delaying for 1 year its next gen air dominance analysis so I will say the future of the F-35 is unclear.

According to AW, Japan is looking for a stealth air superiority twin engine long range fighter given China's focus on the outlying islands. That clearly spells trouble for the US-Japan alliance since outside of the F-22, there is no existing solution that is available.

I do not have doubt that Japan can design its own fighters. It clearly leads in electronics (it first designed an AESA radar a decade before the US) and advanced materials. The hard part will be the engines and it may be best to select say an F-22 engine and design an X3 around them. Japan is only buying the F-35 to replace its aging F-2 and F-4, but that is no long range air superiority solution regardless of the spins.
KQN

Peter Coates said...

Hi Anonymous

Thankyou for your F-35 pitch on behalf of Lockheed Martin.

Certainly Lockheed Martin via a captive US Government have done a sound job in forcing the F-35 on America's allies.

I am confident the F-35 will be authentically operational by the mid-2020s.

At the LHD's "economical" cruise speed (of 15 knots) the Shortfins will hopefully be able to keep up for a couple of days on battery or snort (noisely) for longer. If the LHD's need to speed up Australia will have wished it had SSNs or USN SSNs on hand.

Regards

Pete

Peter Coates said...

Hi KQN

Yes, whatever the F-35 salesmen pitch "the F-35 is still not yet ready with limited flight envelope and weaponry."

Very true "USAF is delaying for 1 year its next gen air dominance analysis so I will say the future of the F-35 is unclear."

The US knows it has its allies over a barrel because they have nowhere else to turn for at hand stealth - not China, Russia or Europe.

and only the F-22 and B-2 are actually stealthy.

The F-35 remains an unfinished testbed, hence the vaunted tests.

Japan, with bitter enemies across the small Sea of Japan, will remember the US's F-22 generosity.

Regards

Pete

MHalblaub said...

Dear Anonymous,
what the F-35 offers is not worth the money. Stealth is a nice to have but first you need a valuable aircraft. E.g. the F-4 is still operational in the South Korea and Japan. The F-117 is history.

---Bashing the F-35 seems to be a popular pastime of many, [...]---
I would say it is better to acknowledge the deficiencies of this aircraft before the pilots will be bashed out of the sky.

---[...] but I am confident that it has been a good choice for Australia, Japan and many other partners [...]---
I am not as confident.

---"The Marine Corps recently put the F-35B Lightning II through its paces in a highly-contested airspace combat scenario. The result? The joint strike fighters were able to destroy all 24 enemy targets without taking any losses.---
What does tell us nothing because we do not know the scenario? What type of weapons is the F-35B already capable to use? E.g. the gun pod is not ready yet.

---“It was like 'Jurassic Park,' watching a velociraptor,” Davis said. “It kills everything. It does really well.”---
Mr. Davis may not know it but the species called Velociraptor was extinct several million years ago.
---“ Speaking before the House Armed Services subcommittee on readiness Wednesday, Davis said that fourth-generation aircraft like the F/A-18 Hornet and EA-6B Prowler would get shot down by their pseudo aggressors when running similar training scenarios.”---
In other circumstance it would be called stacked photo opportunity. As I know the US Marine Corps does not operate the Super Hornet and EA-18G „Growler“ as the US Navy does. So Mr. Davis is comparing not current aircraft against the F-35.

---“We just ran a normal scenario we would have with our legacy aircraft," he said. "Generally about half to a third of the airplanes don’t make it through.”---
Which normal scenario? An ideal outdated case for an F-35?

---Thats a pretty big endorsement of the "can't climb, can't turn, it will be like beating baby seals" F-35.---
It was “like clubbing baby seals” as I remember. What will the F-35 do against enemy aircraft with IRST and L-band radar? The problem is then "can't climb, can't turn, can’t run!”.

---On shipping matters in any medium to high intensity conflict the new LHD's look like pretty big targets. I understand that they will usually be travelling with air warfare destroyers for aggressors with altitude, but what about below the surface? Is Collins class up to the task with the endurance and capability of listening and responding while at speed?---
The point is the US Navy can not defend its carrier groups against modern SSKs.
On very rare occasions a fleet will run full speed ahead. To send a fleet is a strong political massage that may lead to negotiations.

Regards,
MHalblaub

Peter Coates said...

Well argued MHalblaub

The debate on websites concerning the F-35 is distorted by paid commenter-advocates for the F-35.

Lockheed Martin's profit margin from F-35 development is so high it can afford to pay wages and research commissions to "Anonymous" F-35 advocates.

Regards

Pete

Peter Coates said...

Lockheed Martin's F-35 remains a vision. It is also not what users who are in action against actual enemies can wait for - as indicated in the following.

http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/us-navy-wants-more-f-18-super-hornets-some-serious-upgrades-16947 of July 12, 2016 :

The US "Navy is aggressively seeking to increase the size of its F/A-18 fleet, extend the current service life of existing aircraft and integrate a series of new technologies to better enable the carrier-launched fighter to track and destroy enemy targets, service officials said.

...An impetus for the effort has several facets, including a previously unanticipated delay in the delivery of the Navy’s F-35C carrier-launched variant of the Joint Strike Fighter..."

Notwithstanding Lockheed Martin's claims that F-35s are getting cheaper the very high cost of maintenance per operating hour for F-35s far exceeds the repeated marketing claims of Lockheed Martin.

Might the F-35 go the way of the ("solution for all services") F-111 or Lockheed F-104 Starfighter?

Pete

Peter Coates said...

See this excellent article by JOSEPH TREVITHICK "Untangling the Claims Behind the Air Force’s F-35 Media Blitz" https://warisboring.com/the-u-s-air-force-has-launched-a-new-p-r-blitz-for-the-f-35-a241222dc131#.rrhy0bdrw

It refutes many of Anonymous's [at 8/7/16 5:44 PM} Lockheed Martin marketing claims. Also USAF pilots who hope to obtain retirement sinecures with Lockheed Martin appear to be part of that marketing campaign.

Pete

Anonymous said...

Hi Pete

In May/20/2016, Ministry of Defense Official Channel revealed video of the first flight of X-2 in Apr/22/2016.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Byahq5Q1W2Q

And the second flight is shown as follows
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2PaLgOXfbTU

Regards
S

Peter Coates said...

Thanks S [at 21/7/16 6:16 PM]

The X-2 shown certainly has the engine inlets and angled body-form that is typical of stealth jets.

Possibly the most difficult stealth technologies are:

1. practical radar absorbent materials (RAM) http://www.globalspec.com/learnmore/materials_chemicals_adhesives/electrical_optical_specialty_materials/radar_absorbing_materials_structures_ram_ras and

2. low emission electronic devices (including communications and radar)

If Japan only buys a few F-35s and reverse engineers them :)

while spending $Billions (for on 1 and 2) working with Boeing, Saab and Dassault - then that will promote much needed competition and equity in the world aviation industry - for the betterment of mankind.

This may be at the expense of LockMart and its revolving door Branch Office (aka The Pentagon) but what the heck!

Regards :)

Pete