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Defense Ministry to choose one domestic manufacturer for new fighter production

  • July 29, 2020
  • , Nikkei
  • JMH Summary

Nikkei wrote that the Ministry of Defense is planning to contract with only one Japanese company in the development of the next-generation fighter jets slated for deployment in 2035. The paper wrote that the company will lead the development and manufacturing of the fighters and coordinate with other Japanese and American companies participating in the joint development. The paper also wrote that this arrangement is unusual because previous ASDF fighters were either imported from the United States or produced by Japanese companies licensed by U.S. manufacturers. The paper speculated that Japan is hoping that the plan will help improve Japanese firms’ development and manufacturing capabilities by enabling them to develop and manufacture core components such as engines. According to the paper, the ministry is planning to announce the details of the plan by the end of this month or later. The paper added that although Lockheed Martin had proposed a hybrid of the F-22 and the F-35 for Japan’s next-generation fighter, the plan was rejected because Japan insisted on doing the development itself. In view of the U.S. defense industry’s strong political influence, the paper speculated that the U.S. side may renew its push for a U.S.-led development after the presidential election in November. Yomiuri, Mainichi, and Sankei ran similar reports, adding that Mitsubishi Heavy Industries is the most likely candidate for the main contractor.

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