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Japan plans to buy US F-35 fighters

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TOKYO (PTI): Japan is considering buying 40 F-35 fifth generation combat jets from US to be its future mainstay frontline fighter.

Japan picked up the F-35 fighter jointly developed by US, UK, Australia and others over Boeings F/A-18 and F-15 FX and Euro- fighter to contend with China developing next generation J-17 fighters.

According to Kyodo news agency, the Japanese defence ministry is seeking fiscal allocation in the 2011 budget to purchase these advanced stealth fighter jets.

The F-35 fighters with covered armament pods are estimated to cost USD 101 million each, Kyodo said.

The agency said that Japan's first choice was to acquire Lockheed-Martins F-22 Raptor fighters to replace its ageing F-4EJ fighters, but the US has refused to sell these fighters built to evade radars at supersonic speeds.

US have also announced plans to halt production of the Raptors, billed to be world's most costly fighter.

Washington has not sold even a single F-22 to any other country.

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