Japan asks US to stick to initial price of F-35

The F-35 is being developed by an international consortium led by US aircraft maker Lockheed Martin Corp.

Tokyo: Japan Defence Minister Naoki Tanaka on Friday said his ministry has asked the United States to stick to the initially agreed price of the F-35 stealth jet, which Japan has picked as its next-generation mainstay fighter.

"Naturally, our position is (for the US) to adhere to its proposed price," Tanaka told reporters, adding "We are strongly requesting this."

The ministry has indicated in a letter to the US Department of Defence the possibility of halting the F-35 purchases if prices skyrocket.

The ministry also requested a review of the procurement system under a foreign military sales arrangement that allows the United States to change prices at its discretion. Japan announced in December that it had decided on the F-35, which is being developed by an international consortium led by US aircraft maker Lockheed Martin Corp.

The ministry plans to procure four F-35 jets in fiscal 2012 starting April. In that fiscal year, each aircraft has been estimated to cost about JPY 8.9 billion, or JPY 9.9 billion per aircraft including spare parts.

PTI

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