Sayonara F-22

Japan has apparently officially abandoned its pursuit of the F-22 in favor of the F-35 as it considers a platform to recapitalize it aging fighter fleet. Speaking to reporters Tuesday in Washington, D.C., Air Force Secretary Michael Donley said the Asian ally is now “focused on F-35,” based on his interactions over the past half year or so with the Japanese air chief. Japanese officials last year expressed interest in acquiring an export version of the F-22, but met Pentagon resistance and faced the standing US law banning F-22 overseas sales. Donley said the Pentagon has not softened its opposition, explaining that the F-22 has characteristics “worth protecting” and “proprietary to the United States.” Plus, the F-22, unlike the F-35, was not designed with export in mind. “Just the concept of an exportable F-22 involves a substantial redesign of the airplane,” imposing substantial costs, he said.