Japanese Add F-35Bs to their Evolving Capabilities for Perimeter Defense


The Japanese are working to enhance their capabilities for perimeter defense.

To do so, they are adding Ospreys and F-35Bs to their force mix which will allow them to operate from sea or island bases or both in a rotational island strategy approach to defense.

In an article by Andrew McLaughlin published on August 20, 2019, the formal approval by the Japanese government was highlighted.

The Japanese Defence Ministry has announced it has received formal approval to buy 42 Lockheed martin F-35B short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) variants of the JSF for operations aboard its Izumo class helicopter destroyers (DDH).

The formal announcement follows last December’s announcement of Japan’s intention to buy additional F-35As, the F-35Bs, and to convert the two Japanese maritime Self-Defense Force 27,000t Izumo DDHs to operate the STOVL aircraft. A formal proposal from the US Government was reportedly received in June.

Japanese media says an initial budget allocation for 18 F-35Bs will be made by 2023, with the additional 24 jets to follow in a subsequent budget.

The featured photo shows an F-35B Flying at Beaufort Air Show, April 2019. Credit. Second Line of Defense.

The USMC, the RAF/Royal Navy, and Singapore plus Japan are the initial operators of F-35Bs but we expect other F-35 partners to buy into the flexibility of the B.