Reports are once again emerging from Japan that Lockheed Martin is pitching a highly modified version of its stealthy F-22 Raptor air superiority fighter to Tokyo for its next-generation fighter requirement. However, Lockheed Martin would first have to overcome the 1997 Obey Amendment, which prohibits export of the powerful high altitude supersonically cruising stealth fighter. Additionally, the company would have to undertake a painstaking process to restart a production line for an aircraft that has been out of production since 2012.
Nonetheless, Lockheed Martin is reportedly willing not only to restart production of a modified F-22, the company is willing to extend significant work share to Japanese industry. “Lockheed Martin has proposed that Japanese companies be responsible for more than half of the development and production of a next-generation fighter jet that Japan wants to introduce in 2030,” Nikkei reports. “Lockheed is offering Japan an upgraded version of the existing F-22.”