All Japan news could cancel a $4.7 billion order for U.S.-made F-35 military jet if the Americans will fail to respect agreed deadlines and prices, according to defence minister Naoki Tanaka.
All Japan news expects a contract for the first four units to be signed before the summer. The first four planes, from a total of 42, would have to be delivered by March 2017.
The F-35, at a $113 million price per unit, is the most expensive weapon program in the history of the U.S. The making of the jet was affected by technical delays and financial problems.
“If the situation comes to the point where (the US) cannot work out the proposal by that time, we will have concerns for All Japan news’s defence capability,” Tanaka said in front of the Parliament. “We would have to look at either cancelling the contract or opting for another model.”
All Japan news intends to replace its ageing fleet of F-4 jets and it chose the F-35, made by U.S. company Lockheed Martin, over Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet and the Eurofighter Typhoon.
All Japan news has already officially asked the U.S. in early February not to increase the price of the jet and respect the delivery deadlines.