The Japanese government is seeking to buy a design for an aircraft that melds together the F-22 Raptor, which is prohibited from being exported and no longer in production, and the F-35 Lightning, which Tokyo is already buying from America's largest defense contractor.
The design would incorporate "the F-22 and F-35 and could be superior to both of them," a source told Reuters on Friday. According to the news outlet, Lockheed is awaiting approval from the US government to offer sensitive details about the Pentagon's latest and greatest technology.
Japan's current fleet of F-15J and F-2 aircraft are based on decades-old designs modeled off Boeing's F-15 and Lockheed's F-16, respectively.
The future of Japan's next-generation fighter jet program remains murky. "We are considering domestic development, joint development and the possibility of improving existing aircraft performance," a Japanese Defense Ministry spokesman said April 20, "but we have not come to any decision yet."
Lockheed Martin stands ready as always to build more weapons of war. A company spokesman tells Reuters, "we look forward to exploring options for Japan's F-2 replacement fighter in cooperation with both the Japanese and US governments."
US President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida this week for bilateral talks. The duo also played a round of golf. "The unwavering security relationship between the United States and Japan has been reinforced through renewed defense commitments between President Trump and Prime Minister Abe," a White House fact sheet from April 17 reads.