Sept. 26 (Bloomberg) -- Lockheed Martin Corp., Boeing Co. and Eurofighter GmbH submitted bids to supply Japan with fighter jets in a contest that may be worth more than $4 billion.
Lockheed proposed the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, while Boeing offered the F-18 Super Hornet and Eurofighter put forward the Typhoon, according to separate statements today. A defense ministry spokesman confirmed the bids had been received. He declined to be named citing government policy.
Japan plans to pick a winner in the contest to supply about 40 fighters this year as it works to replace aging planes and bolster defenses. Bethesda, Maryland-based Lockheed, the world’s largest defense contractor, Boeing, and Eurofighter are contending for the deal as U.S. and European austerity drives damp the outlook for military spending in their home markets.
The new aircraft, due to delivered from 2016, will replace Boeing F-4s, which were last assembled in Japan in 1981. Japan had a total of 362 fighter jets as of March 31, according to the defense ministry’s website.
Japan, which has the world’s sixth-largest defense budget, is upgrading its air defenses as both Russia and China develop stealth fighters and as North Korea works on improving its ballistic missiles and developing nuclear weapons.
--Editors: Neil Denslow, Subramaniam Sharma.
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