Japan makes its own military products. The only country that until now cooperated with Japan was the United States. For the first time, the United States will not be a Japanese arms-producing country.
It is already a fact, the Japanese government has made the official decision to cooperate in the joint development of a new generation fighter with Great Britain and Italy. The new fighter will replace the aging F2 of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force [JASDF]. The news was confirmed by Japanese online media outlet Asahi. The Japanese outlet writes that the agreement will be signed at the end of this year. This is supposed to happen in December.
Fusion of programs
The merger of two programs is possible: the British Tempest and Japanese FX. These two programs are specifically related to the development of new generation fighters. It should be noted that Japanese companies continue to collaborate with their British counterparts in the design of the Tempest programme. This will most likely facilitate the merger of the two programs and the future conceptual design of the aircraft.
On the Japanese side, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries will play a leading role, while on the British side it will be BAE Systems. Italy will also participate, through the local conglomerate Leonardo.
At the moment, the functions of the three companies have not yet been determined. According to Asahi, a second Italian company will be involved in the project, perhaps as a subcontractor. This is the company Avio. According to Asahi, the engines will be entrusted to the work of the British rolls royce and the Japanese IHI. Both firms will have a central role in the design.
The first agreement between Japan and the UK has already been reached. The two countries have determined future requirements for the stealth technology, but Asahi has not provided details.
Asahi writes that the year 2035 is the deadline by which the new fighter will have to be operationally ready. The year is not a coincidence, as the Japanese military plans to start the retirement of the F2 fighter right on that date.
The Mitsubishi F2 fighter jet was developed on the basis of the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon. It is a joint product of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Lockheed-Martin. The fighter was first introduced at the beginning of the new millennium. It is no longer produced, as it was discontinued in 2011. Only Japan is the operator of this aircraft.
Although visually similar to F-16 Fighting Falcon, the F2 has quite a few differences with its “American brother”. For example, the wings of the F2 are 25% larger than those of the F-16. The F2 has a longer and wider nose, a larger tailplane, and a larger air intake. Additionally, the F-2 is equipped with a drop parachute.
the three principles
However, Japan is gradually abandoning its conservative policy on arms production and export.
The Japanese government intends to review, renew, and somewhat “liberate” the strict export bans contained in Japan’s operational guidelines for the “Three Principles of Defense Equipment Transfer.” This will give Japan great freedom to more quickly and easily export not only new weapons, but also donate obsolete ones. There was even talk of donations of man-portable anti-tank missile systems to Ukraine, as well as support for Asian partners. The review of the “three principles” will take place in 2023.
Japan, the United Kingdom and Italy will produce a new generation fighter plane that will replace the old F2