The US Plans To Sell F-35 To Japan South Korea And Singapore
China's behaviors in recent times have been more like a rogue nation. It has created a nuisance in the South China Sea, taken unilateral action on Hong Kong, and initiated a military standoff with India. U.S Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said recently, "Beijing's claims to offshore resources across most of the South China Sea are completely unlawful, as is its campaign of bullying to control them,” He further added, "the PRC's predatory world view has no place in the 21st century.” The Trump administration has indicated that thousands of more U.S troops may be sent to the Indo-Pacific region, where the U.S. maintains a military presence in Japan, South Korea, and Singapore. But one of the other ways is to counter China indirectly is to arm countries in the region which are friendly to the U.S and are opposed to Chinese hegemony. This will be especially useful if the U.Ssupplies a weapon that China can’t counter effectively. In this video Defense Updates analyzes howU.S is surrounding China with stealthy 5th generation F-35 lightning II fighters against which it has no answer?
The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning ||
Let’s get into the details. The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II which is a single-seat, single-engine, all-weather stealth multirole fighters is undergoing final development and testing by the United States. The Pentagon began the F 35 program in 2001with an aim to develop a cost-effective replacement for the U.S. military’s F15 fighters, F16 and F18 fighter bombers and reconnaissance aircraft, and A10 close in support warplanes. The F-35 has three main models: the conventional takeoff and landing F-35A (CTOL), the short take-off and vertical-landing F-35B (STOVL), and the catapult-assisted take-off but arrested recovery, carrier-based F-35C (CATOBAR) Apart from the United States, the primary customer and financial backer, the United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, Canada, Australia, Norway, and Denmark are also part of the program.
Singapore, South Korea, and Japan are also in the process of acquiring F-35 Lightning ||
Three countries - Singapore, South Korea, and Japan are also in the process of acquiring the fighter and are at different stages of that process. While the relationship between the Singapore & China stands strong, differences were experienced during numerous high-profile events, including Singapore's stance against China regarding the South China Sea dispute, Singapore's support for the United States' military presence and alliance system in Asia, and the seizing of Singapore Armed Forces vehicles by Hong Kong authorities in November 2016. Singapore had a lengthy evaluation process last year after which it selected the F-35 to replace its fleet of Lockheed Martin F-16C/D jets starting in 2030. In January 2020, the U.S. State Department cleared Singapore’s request for 12 F-35Bs, with four confirmed and an option for eight more.
The tiny Southeast Asian island nation has a limited landmass and hence its airfields could be disabled easily with a preemptive strike. F-35Bs will make sure that the country is no longer reliant on long, vulnerable runways to operate an aircraft. Viewers may note that the ‘B’ variant will allow Singapore to operate the jets with little to no airstrip. Though the relationship between South Korea& China has been normal in recent times, there are occasional hiccups. This is mostly due to the fact that SouthKorea and North Korea have a long-standing dispute and the two countries are allied toU.S & China respectively. For example, the relations significantly deteriorated in 2017 after South Korea announced its intentions to deploy THAAD, a move that China strongly opposed.
The South Korean government has recently revealed that its next amphibious assault ships will be aviation-centric platforms and will focus on the country's future short and vertical takeoff and landing capable F-35B Joint StrikeFighters. Reports indicate that like the U.S. Navy's USS America, the proposed vessels will not have a well-deck to launch and receive landing craft or amphibious vehicles and operate more like a small aircraft carrier. The new details about the LPX-II program previously referred to as LPH-II were included in a larger South Korean defense spending plan for the 2021 to 2025 timeframe. The South Korean Ministry of Defense also released a new rendering of the ship's design, as it exists now.
Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) won the contract to design the LPX-II in October 2019
Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) won the contract to design the LPX-II in October 2019. The LPX-II design will reportedly be derived from the South Korean Navy's Dokdo class amphibious assault ship hull form, which was originally designed by another shipbuilder, Hanjin Heavy Industries & Construction (HHIC). It is to be noted that South Korea had been eyeing the purchase of F-35Bs as early as 2017 and it is now confirmed that it is moving ahead with the acquisition. The Japan Air Self-Defense Force or JASDFcurrently has 42 F-35A on order. As per reports around 13 having been delivered to date. One was lost in a crash during a combat exercise on 9 April. JASDF plans to ultimately field a total of105 F-35As. Apart from these, 42 F-35Bs will be acquired. F-35A will take off for missions from traditional runways whereas F-35B will add more operational flexibility.
Japan currently has two Izumo class warship-Izumo and Kaga. Izumo class displaces 27,000 tons when fully loaded. The ships have a speed of 35 mph or around 56 km/h. Each ship could carry around 20 to 22 F-35Bs. Apart from the usual weapons package, Japan will arm these F-35s with Joint Strike Missile or JSM which is based on Naval Strike Missile(NSM) and was developed by Kongsberg in partnership with America’s Raytheon. It will enable Japan to take on the People’s Liberation Army Navy which has elapsed Japan’s naval fleet in both tonnages as well as number of vessels and has gone from a green-water navy capable of operating only in regional seas relatively close to home to a full-fledged blue water fleet operating as far as the Indian ocean and Baltic Sea.
F-35 is a true 5th generation fighter that is developed from grounds up to be stealthy
F-35 is a true 5th generation fighter that is developed from grounds up to be stealthy. Its external structure is designed to deflect signals away from the emitting radar which makes it hard to detect or track. This is done by having no sharp edges or protruding elements and having a smooth external curvature. Also, it has a coating of RAM (Radar AbsorbingMaterial) that reduces the number of signals getting reflected. Classified techniques have been used to reduce the heat signature of F 35. This thermal profile management of the jet makes it difficult for Infrared (IR) homing missiles to target it.
F 35 has the lowest Radar Cross Section (RCS) of all the fighter jets except the F 22 Raptor which is operated only by the U.S Air Force. It is a very Low Observable (LO) platform in reality, unlike the Chinese Chengdu J-20 which is claimed to be stealthy but has been exposed. Indian pilots on Russian-made Su-30MKIs from Indian airspace managed to detect and track the new Chinese jets when they were conducting flight training over Tibet. Indian Air Force commander Arup Shah stated that the Sukhoi's radar can see the J-20s and no special tech is required to detect it. It is clear that China has limited options against F-35 and the U.S is taking a well thought out step when it comes to providing the fighter to nations surrounding China.