The Japan Times has reported that the Japan Air Self-Defense Force has a plan to increase the number of airbases which will host newest F-35 fighter jets.
According to Japan’s largest English-language daily newspaper, Defense Ministry is looking at deploying new F-35A state-of-the-art stealth fighters to Air Self-Defense Force bases other than the current host, the Misawa base in Aomori Prefecture.
The ministry sought ¥40.2 billion in its budget request for fiscal 2021 to acquire four F-35As in fiscal 2025.
“When the number of F-35s increases, new fighters may be deployed to bases other than Misawa that currently operate fighter jets,” a ministry official said. “As we need to gain approval from local communities, we have not decided yet where to deploy them.”
Currently, the Misawa base hosts 17 F-35As, with the number set to increase to some 20 next spring. After trial operations, they will be assigned missions such as scramble responses.
The ministry plans to procure 147 F-35s eventually. In the future, F-35s will replace F-15s that cannot be modernized, including those at the Chitose base in Hokkaido and the Komatsu base in Ishikawa Prefecture.
On July 2019, the DSCA, the Pentagon’s top arms broker, announced that the U.S. State Department has given the green light for Japan to buy additional F-35A Conventional TakeOff and Landing (CTOL) and F-35B Short Take-Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) aircraft, a deal that could be worth about $23.11 billion.
Congress was notified of the sale July 9, according to an announcement posted to the Defense Security Cooperation Agency’s website. Congress is required to approve the deal.
The sale will include 63 F-35A, 42 F-35B stealth fighter jets, 110 Pratt and Whitney F135 engines, Electronic Warfare Systems; Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence/Communications, Navigation and Identification; Autonomic Logistics Global Support System and communications systems and equipment.