Japan launches $40 billion fighter jet tender

It’s one of the largest fighter jet contracts in years, with $40 billion up for grabs. But which lucky contractor will get the gig — Boeing? Lockheed? Or Japan’s own Mitsubishi Heavy Industries? 



In late June, reports surfaced of a new Japanese fighter jet contract worth a whopping $40 billion. Selected contractors were required to formally express their interest in the tender by July 5. However, a final decision on who gets the job isn’t expected until summer 2018, with the actual deployment of the jets following at least a decade later.

It’s no surprise that top defense contractors are eager to throw their hats in the ring. Despite the inclusion of Japan’s own Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Reuters reports that Tokyo’s ties with Washington make it highly likely Japan will go with a US-based contractor.  

The rundown 


  • Client: Japanese military  
  • Potential Contractors: Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries


  • At least 100 new fighter jets to replace Japan’s Mitsubishi F-2s and to operate alongside its Lockheed F-35s and Boeing F-15Js


  • E&T Magazine’s Jack Loughran suspects the new fighter jet project is a result of “creeping tension with China over disputed maritime borders.”


  • Expressions of interest deadline: July 5, 2016
  • Final decision on contractor: expected summer 2018
  • Deployment: late 2020s

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Main image: Mitsubishi F-2 by Courtney Witt via Wikimedia Commons