[Q & A]Regarding the Selection of the New Fighter

The F-35A that was selected as the new fighter (same type)
The F-35A that was selected as the new fighter (same type)

Q1 Why was it necessary to select the new fighter (F-X) at this time?

A1.The F-4 fighters that are currently in use were first introduced about 40 years ago and they are already decreasing in number due to aging. Without effective response to this situation, defense posture, which consists of approximately 260 fighters described in the National Defense Program Guidelines, can’t be maintained.

It will take about five years from the decision to acquire the new fighter (F-X) to actual delivery to Air Self Defense Force (ASDF). In addition, we need to consider the period necessary for operational testing and education of pilots.

For these reasons, it became necessary to start the process to acquire the new fighter (F-X) as early as possible.

Q2 What kind of aircraft became candidates for new fighter (F-X)?

Three aircraft for which proposals were submitted – the F/A-18E, F-35A and Typhoon - were considered as candidates.

Q3 What procedures were taken for the selection?

A3.We issued the Request for Proposals (RFP) on April 13 last year and received proposals for the F/A-18E and F-35A from the U.S. government and a proposal for the Typhoon from the U.K. government and others on September 26 of the same year. We evaluated the proposals fairly and rigorously according to predetermined criteria.

The procedure was processed as follows: at the first stage of the evaluation, all proposals are evaluated on whether they satisfy the mandatory requirements (requirements considered mandatory for the new fighter (F-X)) and any proposal that does not satisfy any of the required items would be rejected. If more than two proposals pass the first stage, they are assessed comprehensively in four areas of “performance”, “cost”, “industrial participation” and “logistics support” at the second stage evaluation, where the proposal with the highest total evaluation points in the four areas is adopted. If there are more than two proposals of equal total score, the third stage evaluation is conducted. In this stage the proposal with the highest score in “cost” (less expensive in terms of cost) of the second stage is adopted.

As the results of the evaluation, although all of the proposed models satisfied the requirements at the first stage, the total score for the F-35A was the highest at the second stage. Consequently, the F-35A was selected as the new fighter (F-X) without conducting the third stage evaluation.

Q4 What kind of performance was required for the new fighter (F-X) ?

A4.The new fighter (F-X) should be able to respond effectively to recent advanced fighters, be well equipped to respond to cruise missiles and be capable of effectively accomplishing missions in network-based warfare that encompasses above mentioned two capabilities as its component elements.

More and more weapon systems start to possess multirole (multiple functions) capabilities, and this trend is particularly significant in fighters. In addition, security issues and destabilizing factors surrounding Japan are diverse, complex and multilayered. In light of these factors, the new fighter is required to be a multirole (multiple functions) fighter equipped with air interdiction (air-to-ground attack) capability at minimum in addition to air superiority fighting capability.

Q5 We heard that the selected F-35A is currently under development. Will they be delivered exactly as they are proposed?

A5.In this selection, the RFP requires the proposers to honor the proposed content and we have also received a pledge to honor the content of their proposal from the US Air Force Chief of Staff addressed to the ASDF Chief of Staff.

We have also received a letter from the development officer stating that the U.S. government will deliver the aircraft exactly as described in the proposal.

Based on these arrangements, the Ministry of Defense believes that the aircraft will be delivered within the timeframe as requested by the Ministry.

Proposer and Candidates for new fighter
Fighter Units
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