Tokyo has agreed to purchase 105 brand-new US-produced F-35 warplanes, US President Donald Trump said on Monday during his state visit to Japan. The announcement comes as Washington locks horns with Turkey over the planes.
The arms deal would give Japan the largest F-35 fleet among Washington’s allies, Trump told reporters following talks with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Sharing some wisdom, the US president also proudly explained that the planes are “stealth because the fact is you can’t see them.” Lavishing more praise on the fifth-generation high-tech weaponry, he noted that Tokyo was among the top buyers of American arms last year.
The upcoming deal, which may reportedly cost Japan a whopping $10 billion, has been discussed since December 2018 as Shinzo Abe’s government approved an increase in the country’s order for Lockheed Martin’s stealth fighters.
Meanwhile Japan’s existing fleet of F-35A fighters has been recently plagued by technical problems resulting in at least seven emergency landings during the past two years. The latest incident, which occurred in early April, saw a combat plane disappearing off radars and crashing in northern Japan due to cooling and navigation issues.
In 2017, the Pentagon revealed that “2,769 deficiencies” were identified in the performance of F35 jets. Further reports suggested some F35s have a life span four times shorter than the expected 8,000 flights, while the aircrafts’ guns accuracy is “unacceptable.”
F35 is Lockheed Martin’s most lucrative weapons program, estimated at $1.2 trillion.