The United States announced Thursday that it has approved the sale of 105 F-35 stealth aircraft to Japan for an estimated $23.11 billion.
Japan had asked to buy 63 F-35A, the traditional version of the electronics-laden fighter aircraft, and 42 F-35B, the short-takeoff and vertical-landing version for aircraft carriers, the State Department said in a statement.
Washington gave its green light to the transaction, which will improve “the security of a major ally” in the Asia-Pacific region, the statement noted.
Do you know your F-35 ABCs?
There are three versions of the F-35 Lightning II, each with unique capabilities tailored to execute our customers’ diverse missions. pic.twitter.com/hoRHYsQktK
— F-35 Lightning II (@thef35) July 7, 2020
“It is vital to US national interest to assist Japan in developing and maintaining a strong and effective self-defense capability,” the State Department added.
In response to the rapid modernization of the Chinese military, Japan has decided to acquire a total of 105 F-35A aircraft over the next decade, in addition to 42 F-35B aircraft.
At the end of 2018, the Japanese government approved a five-year defense plan that includes the entry of two aircraft carriers into its arsenal — a first since the end of World War II.