Sunday, April 29, 2007

F-22 Raptor Sales

Several news agencies have been reporting on the possibility of selling 100 F-22 Raptors to Japan. The reaction from Korea is one of skepticism. From the Korean perspective, this would create instability in East Asia by giving Japan air superiority over China and Korea. I also think that, coupled with the gradual reduction of U.S. troops in Korea, it will appear to weaken the U.S.-Korea security alliance. The Korean air force currenty uses F-15's, which are like a million years old (actually, about 35, but that's still old).

But from the U.S. perspective, this sale makes a lot of sense. First, these planes don't come cheap (over $300 million each). The original plan was for the U.S. to purchase over 700 of them, but that number was drasticaly reduced during the Clinton years and I think the plan now is to purchase less than 200. So this sale will make up for much of the loss to the sweet tune of $30 billion. And second, this will strengthen security relations with what is arguably our second most important ally. There are concerns over exporting such high tech weaponry, but I would assume that the models sold to Japan wouldn't contain the most secret technology so they would be getting the "Diet" models of these fighters anyway.

From what I can tell, these fighters are AMAZING. Their main asset is their stealth technology, which means that they can shoot down enemy planes before they're detected. Tests indicate that they will absolutely destroy the current fighters on the market, and you would only need a couple of them to wipe out entire squadrons of enemy fighters.

1 comment:

Grace said...

Unlike Sean, I'm against selling the F22s to Japan. As the article stated, it would create a dramatic imbalance in air power capabilities between the 3 countries and increase the already high tensions in the region.

As for the potential profits, I think that they pale in comparison to the costs that would be occurred were armed conflict to break out. Beijing is not happy about the fact that these fighter jets have the capability of reaching Beijing, whether or not they are "stripped down," and it is guaranteed to escalate the already rocky US-ROK relationship. Besides, I think the purchase of these jets are stretching the limits of Japan's Constitution and strict adherence to "self defense." For self-defense, you do not need a stealth fighter jet (in my opinion) and Japan's military capabilities are superior to anyone else's in the region, excluding the U.S.

Besides, I believe Bush declined Abe's request for the F22s. If the US wouldn't even sell it to their close ally the Auzzies, I don't see how they would sell it to Japan.