Japan has emerged as the most important U.S. partner in crafting a layered shield against ballistic missiles of all ranges and in all phases of flight.
The administration told Congress two days before Pyongyang’s rocket launch that Tokyo was seeking a potential $421 million “Aegis” system upgrade for a pair of guided-missile destroyers to better defend against ballistic missile attacks.
Japan also has agreed to host a second land-based X-Band radar station - a possible prelude to purchase of Lockheed’s Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, designed to intercept enemy missiles inside the atmosphere and in space.
F-35 JOINT STRIKE FIGHTER
The highest-profile U.S. offering now is Lockheed Martin’s radar-evading F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft, whose three variants make up the Pentagon’s costliest arms program.
Japan already has selected the F-35 to replace aging F-4s as its next mainstay fighter, a deal valued at more than $5 billion. The F-35 is being considered by Singapore and South Korea, which is also weighing rival bids from the Eurofighter Typhoon and Boeing’s F-15 Silent Eagle. The Korean competition is for a 60-plane order valued at more than $7 billion.
U.S. arms sales to India, now at a cumulative $8 billion from near zero in 2008, are expected to keep on booming. India plans to spend about $100 billion over the next decade to upgrade its arsenal, partly as a counter to China. India and China fought a brief, high-altitude border war in 1962.