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Japan aims to deploy unmanned fighter jets in 2035

  • January 1, 2021
  • , Nikkei
  • JMH Summary

Friday’s Nikkei wrote that the Ministry of Defense is planning to deploy unmanned, remote-controlled fighter jets in 2035 or later with the aim of acquiring the capability of responding to “drone warfare” in view of China’s development of military technologies. According to the ministry, China possesses more than 1,000 fourth-generation fighter jets that can reach supersonic speeds, about three times as many as Japan, and has also began deploying fifth-generation stealth fighters. The paper wrote that the Defense Ministry envisages using unmanned fighters in three stages—first operating remote-controlled fighters independently, then teaming them up with manned aircraft, and ultimately allowing them to operate as autonomous squadrons. The paper wrote that the ministry is planning to team them up with manned aircraft first for its 2035 goal because autonomous weapons require highly advanced artificial intelligence technology and international rules have not yet caught up with the technology. The paper also wrote that Japanese companies have already been tasked with conducting research for the necessary technology and that Japan may consider the possibility of joint development with U.S. and British firms.

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