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    U.S. Forces Japan:

    max steel

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    Re: U.S. Forces Japan:

    Post  max steel on Sun Feb 14, 2016 2:08 pm

    Japan Faces Challenging Choices for Cash-Strapped Air Force Suspect

    Critics have raised concerns that Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force (ASDF) could find itself with only a modest number of fifth-generation aircraft backed by obsolescing fourth-generation planes, based around the F-2 and F-15s, that lack interoperability.

    For example, at present funding levels, the ASDF can only procure 42 F-35s at a rate of a handful a year, meanwhile diverting scarce resources to update its legacy fleet. This year, the ASDF can only afford to buy six F-35s while upgrading 11 F-2s with modern digital communications systems.

    The recent ballyhooed unveiling of the putative fifth-generation X-2 Shinshin stealth fighter demonstrator and the future availability of the short takeoff/vertical landing F-35B on Japan’s carrier-convertible DDH Izumo-class helicopter carrier seem to offer the ASDF some pathways to building a more effective force. But do they?

    Richard Aboulafia, vice president, analysis, at the Teal Group suggested that given budget constraints, costs and the dead-end nature of the costly F-2 program, ASDF’s most likely scenario will be some additional F-35s and more F-15 upgrades. Japan might even consider buying more up-to-date F-15s, but given the funding priority of the first 42 F-35s, cash for more F-15s is unlikely to be provided, he said.

    “One thing's certain: The F-15 fleet will be the most important JASDF component for decades to come. In terms of range and payload the F-15s are hugely important, and upgrading them will be a very high priority. They're synergistic with the F-35s. Upgrading the F-2 fleet is somewhat tertiary in terms of priorities,” Aboulafia said.

    “Japan has made a significant investment in F-35, as they should have. But they can’t afford to have substantially more F-35s delivered any sooner … and … the F-2s are important only in keeping the Japanese defense industrial base relatively proficient in basic design and manufacturing,” said Steven Ganyard, president, Avascent International.

    Ganyard also suggested an F-15 upgrade strategy was the most logical scenario, since the ASDF’s F-15s have substantial life left but desperately need to be upgraded.

    “The threat to Japan is not Chinese fighters. It’s thousands of cruise and ballistic missiles that could easily cut off all Japan south of Kyushu. This most important reason to have both F-35s and upgraded F-15s with AESA radars is the cruise missile threat of low flying, low [radar cross section] missile salvos that could quickly become overwhelming. This also points out the importance of a 'raid breaker' capability along the Nansei Shoto, perhaps mobile rail guns,” Ganyard said.

    In this light, a joint upgrade program between Japan and the US would share development costs, reduce risk and increase interoperability. The result would be the kind of air force that the US, Israel, Australia and Singapore will have, a mix of aircraft and integrated operations with both fifth-generation and 4+ generation fighters, Ganyard said.

    The deeper problem, analysts agree, is that Japan needs to pull back from funding aircraft that are not internationally competitive, such as the F-2, the C-2 and the P-1, and refocus its strategy and R&D resources on a few world class products and buy what it isn't able to build.

    This makes the Shinshin look increasingly like a redundant bauble, analysts said.

    “Could Shinshin be developed as a poor man’s stealth fighter that, say, Europe and/or the US might be interested in co-developing and India, Australia, et al might be interested in buying? That would certainly cut unit costs. I have no idea what the upside for Shinshin is, though,” said Jun Okumura, visiting scholar at the Meiji Institute for Global Affairs, and a former official of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, which supports domestic weapons platform development.

    Spending on Shinshin would take billions of dollars away from force enhancement and replacement and put it toward development of an unknown airframe, said Aboulafia.

    “It would represent the triumph of national technology development and prestige over actual military needs, unless they had some kind of higher goal, such as an export-oriented plane,” he said.
    “Japan should not develop a poor man’s anything. It wastes money and only makes the country more vulnerable,” Ganyard said.

    Speculation bubbled up a few years back that Japan might consider acquiring the F-35B when it was revealed, for example, that the DDH Izumo-class helicopter destroyers come equipped with F-35B compatible elevators.

    “The F35B is a luxury item that I can’t see the ASDF going for. Aircraft carriers are slow and vulnerable and need lots of support. So, unless you really want to project your naval power to the South China Sea and beyond, or the Japan-US alliance breaks down, I would forget about it," Okumura said.

    Aboulafia agreed, saying that fixed-wing carrier aviation sounds appealing from a force projection and regional presence standpoint, but that it was basically unaffordable for Japan.

    “As it is, the ratio of resources to intentions is way too high; standing up a carrier strike force would make the problem much worse. If Japan adds billions of dollars to the defense budget that's one thing … those 17 V-22s are barely affordable as it is,” Aboulafia said.

    But Ganyard said one reason there has been a shift in thinking away from the F-35B is the opportunity that the US Navy’s Ford-class carrier presents with electro-magnetic aircraft launch systems (EMALS).

    “Without much challenge Japan’s current DDH could be fitted with EMALS and its associated arresting gear. Add an angled deck, a bit more length and displacement, and the JMSDF is back in the fixed-wing aviation business," Ganyard said.

    “While it might take some very senior level direction to carry out such a radical shift, of all the countries in the world, Japan would strategically benefit the most from a return to carrier aviation,” Ganyard said.
    max steel

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    Re: U.S. Forces Japan:

    Post  max steel on Fri May 27, 2016 3:37 pm

    US Military Personnel Arrested in Okinawa—Again

    On May 19, a former U.S. Marine who works as a civilian employee at a U.S. base in Okinawa was arrested by Okinawa Prefectural Police. He was charged with the murder and desertion of the remains of Rina Shimabukuro, a 20-year old woman in Okinawa.

    Following the incident, a predictable sequence of the events unfolded. The commanding general of U.S. Forces in Okinawa and the U.S. consul general apologized to Okinawan Governor Takeshi Onaga. Japanese Defense Minister Gen Nakatani summoned U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy and officially protested the crime that was committed. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe spoke of the intention of his government to strongly request the U.S. government to take appropriate measures to prevent the recurrence of such incidents. Understandably, there has been a surge in protests in Okinawa, demanding all U.S. bases be closed.

    There is no question that what happened is tragic and the crime that has been committed was malicious. It has been reported that the suspect confessed that he had been driving around with a purpose of sexually assaulting a woman. Worse yet, he allegedly murdered her and deserted her body. From all accounts, it was an inexcusable, despicable act.

    That said, it is disheartening to see a simplistic, predictable blame-game unfolding between two groups. On the one hand, there are those who take every incident and crime—no matter how serious or minor—as the proof of absolute negative effects of hosting U.S. bases in Japan. On the other hand, there are those who simply push the geostrategic logic of why U.S. forward-stations its bases, personnel, and their families in Japan, the overwhelming part of which is concentrated in Okinawa. Grounded in completely different perspectives with so little room to compromise, these two groups are unable to have constructive dialogue.

    Reportedly, some government officials are said to have lamented that this arrest was “bad timing,” referring to the fact that it came shortly before President Barack Obama arrives in Japan. It was also reported that the Japanese government and the ruling Liberal Democratic Party of Japan (LDP) are concerned about the backlash that this arrest might cause to the upcoming Upper House election in July. This is an example that demonstrates the disconnect between the two group in its worst form—while such concerns are justified at the policy making level, it is an extremely poor initial reaction by the government that lacks compassion for the public’s concerns. Such a response only aggravates the anger of the victim’s families, the victims of similar crimes in the past, and the community that hosts U.S. bases.

    The difficult and inconvenient reality is that hosting U.S. forward-deployed forces has always brought both positives and negatives in Japan. On the positive side, almost all of those who are stationed in Japan develop a lifelong affinity toward the country. Their experiences in Japan are often enriched by the friendships they nurture with the Japanese they come into contact with, either through work and/or in the community live in.

    At the same time, the U.S. troop presence in Japan inevitably has a negative side. Crimes committed by U.S. service members and other U.S. employees top the list of such negatives, followed by other misbehaviours and noise pollution as well as other inconveniences from the training and operation of U.S. forces. What is challenging about the crimes committed by U.S. service memembers stationed in Japan is that it is simply impossible to eliminate them. There will always be those stationed in Japan who will misbehave. The best that can be done by the authorities is to ensure that those U.S. military personnel that misbehave or worse, commit crimes, will be promptly arrested and held accountable.

    Indeed, particularly since the 1995 rape of a school girl in Okinawa, the U.S. and Japanese governments have worked hard to improve mechanisms to minimize the negative impact of U.S. bases. Moreover, the United States has repeatedly demonstrated that its defense establishment has taken concerns expressed by the Japanese local community seriously. In response to this most recent crime, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter has told his Japanese counterpart that the U.S. government hopes that “the perpetrator of this crime will be held accountable under the Japanese legal system,” suggesting that Washington will not request extradition of the suspect to the United States. While this suspect is not an active U.S. servicemember and therefore is not covered by the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) provisions between the United States and Japan, Carter’s statement still sends an important signal to those stationed in Japan of the potential consequence of their gross misbehaviour.

    Geostrategically, the U.S. forward military presence in Japan continues to serve as the anchor for U.S. power projection in the Asia-Pacific region, providing the bedrock of stability in the regional security environment. With the security concerns in the region, such as North Korea’s nuclear brinkmanship and China’s assertive behaviour in maritime Asia, showing no sign of going away, the demand for the U.S. military’s continuous engagement in this region will only grow in the coming years. In such an environment, the strategic importance of U.S. forces in Japan is likely to increase, rather than diminish.

    The recent arrest in Japan is yet another example of the complex challenges that the U.S. and Japan need to continue to address so that the U.S. force presence in Japan, whatever form it ultimately takes, will be both operationally effective as well as politically sustainable.
    max steel

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    Re: U.S. Forces Japan:

    Post  max steel on Thu Jul 21, 2016 1:39 am

    State Dept OKs $821M SM-2 Block IIIB Missile & Launch Canister Sale to Japan


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    Re: U.S. Forces Japan:

    Post  George1 on Thu Jan 19, 2017 5:21 am

    The first overseas deployment of the F-35 fighter jets

    "There's no smoke without fire.", Georgy Zhukov


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    Re: U.S. Forces Japan:

    Post  HUNTER VZLA on Mon Sep 11, 2017 11:24 am

    JASDF F-15 with USAF B-1

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    Re: U.S. Forces Japan:

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