In response to rising pressure from China’s growing military strength and President Trump to spend more on American military hardware, the Japanese government on Tuesday announced that it plans to spend nearly $10 billion for fighter jets.
Japan has expressed its plan to buy 147 F-35 fighter jets from Lockheed Martin, up from the previously planned 42 fighter jets, making Japan the largest customer outside the U.S. for Lockheed Martin. The announcement comes after the cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday approved an increase of Japan’s existing order, as the nation embarked on materializing its new defense strategy, which also includes the development of Tokyo’s first post-World War II aircraft carriers.
According to the terms of the deal, around 40 of the jets out of the 147 will be the F-35B version – which is nearly 20% more expensive than the conventional F-35A but has the special ability of taking off and landing vertically and is expected to be used on two flat-top destroyers that will be refitted to carry aircraft.
The $10 billion fighter jet deal, at its current publicized prices, is expected to become the world’s most expensive military program in the recent history.