skip to main content

JASDF to upgrade F-15s, procure F-35Bs

Twelve Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters of the JASDF's 302nd Squadron participate in an elephant walk with various US fighter and support aircraft at Misawa Air Base in Japan on 13 May 2022. Japan is moving to procure additional F-35s to improve its combat capabilities. (US Air Force/Airman 1st Class Leon Redfern)

Japan is moving ahead with plans to upgrade or retire older combat aircraft and procure additional Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighter jets. This is said to be a response to what Tokyo perceives as a worsening security situation in the region.

The Japan Ministry of Defense (MoD) told Janes that about 70 Boeing (Mitsubishi) F-15 Eagles serving with the Japan Air Self Defense Force (JASDF) are to be upgraded. In its 2022 defence budget, Japan has also allocated JPY130 billion (USD899.5 million) to procure 12 new F-35A/B fighter aircraft.

Japan said it will spend JPY77.9 billion to procure eight F-35As. In addition, JPY52.1 billion will be spent to procure four F-35B short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) aircraft.

The MoD told Janes that the eight F-35As are “scheduled to be deployed at Komatsu Air Base in 2026”. However, the four F-35Bs are “scheduled to be deployed” after 2024 with the 5th Air Wing at Nyutabaru Air Base on Kyushu island, the MoD added.

It is likely that the F-35Bs will be deployed with the 305th Squadron. This unit currently operates F-15J/DJs.

Nyutabaru Air Base is close to the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force's (JMSDF's) Sasebo Naval Base. This is the home port of an Izumo-class helicopter carrier. Janes

Looking to read the full article?

Gain unlimited access to Janes news and more...