Japan: Pakistan forces India to buy Lockheed F-35 fighter jets
TOKYO ($1=131.97 Japanese Yens) — India may be forced to turn to the US for the purchase of fifth-generation Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II stealth fighters. This is according to a Japanese think tank [unnamed by the source] close to Japan’s self-defense forces, quoted by the Indian Defense Research Wing. According to the Japanese, the reason will be Pakistan and Islamabad’s desire to purchase Chinese fighter jets of the fifth generation J-31 by 2025.
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India is in the process of developing its next-generation stealth fighter jets. Experts suggest that the Indian version of this fighter will be at least in the same class as the currently marketed Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II. But the development of the fifth-generation Indian stealth fighter is starting now, which means, according to Japanese experts, at least 15 years until the start of serial production.
The Japanese think tank analyzed the situation as follows: Pakistan has outdated squadrons of French Mirage-lll/V and Chinese F-7. Islamabad plans to retire them by 2030. According to the Japanese, by 2035, Pakistan will do the same with the obsolete F-16 MLU-15.
There have been reports of Pakistan embarking on modernization of its air fleet in recent months. India bought 36 Dassault Rafale fighters from France, Pakistan responded with a quick order and China built and delivered the J-10CE “Dragon” in just 16 months. According to the latest information, Pakistan is currently working on the JF-17 Block-IV fighter version. This fighter is a joint development between Pakistan and India, and in recent months the two countries have been working hard to induct the JF-17 Block III into the Pakistan Air Force.
Pakistan’s idea is to acquire at least 250 JF-17 fighters of various modifications. They will be the so-called squadrons of light fighters. According to the Japanese, this squadron will be supported by the J-10CE medium fighters and the acquisition of several dozen 5th generation fighters such as the J-31. Pakistan’s plans to develop a 5th generation fighter indigenously were canceled and Islamabad is actively looking at China’s J-31 and Turkey’s TFX program.
The cited report by the Japanese think tank sheds more light on the possibility of India acquiring US F-35 fighter jets. The Japanese are relying on the fact that the US has initiated a procedure to add India as the sixth country to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Thus, India will join a renowned group in the region that includes countries like Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Israel, and South Korea.
Last but not least is the impending decision New Delhi has to make. Which fighter jet to sail alongside India’s new aircraft carriers. BulgarianMilitary.com has already published an opinion that India will most likely choose the American Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter, thereby reducing the influence of the MiG-29 and Russia. If this assumption turns out to be true, India will have taken the first step toward talks to acquire the American stealth fighter F-35.
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