Japan is now set to procure forty-two F-35A Joint Strike Fighters, with the first four aircraft ordered just last month. It is continuing development of the indigenous F-3 fighter project to replace the F-15, under the assumption that future first-line American fighters will be off limits. Meanwhile, F-15J and F-2 fighters are receiving upgrades to boost their air-to-air capability.
To provide early-warning capabilities, as well as command and control, Japan has a fleet of America-sourced aircraft. Japan has four E-767 airborne warning and control system aircraft, and thirteen E-2C Hawkeye airborne early-warning aircraft. The JASDF is set to acquire the latest E-2D Hawkeyes to help deal with the growing number of air intercepts.
Kyle Mizokami is a writer based in San Francisco who has appeared in The Diplomat, Foreign Policy, War is Boring and The Daily Beast. In 2009 he cofounded the defense and security blog Japan Security Watch. You can follow him on Twitter: @KyleMizokami.
Image: Flickr/ Official U.S. Air Force /CC by-nc 2.0