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Japan switches fighter jet development partner from U.S. to UK

  • May 17, 2022
  • , Toyo Keizai
  • JMH Summary

Toyo Keizai reported online on Japan’s plan to join hands with the UK in developing the ASDF’s next-generation fighter jet, claiming that Lockheed Martin, which was expected to be the primary partner of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries for the development project, appears to be more interested in developing pilotless fighters than manned aircraft. The article said that as the U.S. military plans to promote the Next Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) future fighter program using autonomous technology, Japan’s fighter development program might not have been very appealing to the U.S. defense contractor, which was also reportedly reluctant to heed Japan’s calls for greater leeway in selecting radar and electronic warfare equipment to be mounted on the envisaged fighters. As the UK is reportedly willing to share such technology to be used for its Tempest jet fighter that is currently under development by BAE Systems, the magazine said the partnership between Japan and the UK makes more sense for both nations. The article added that BAE Systems launched a Japanese subsidiary in January and its president expressed hope that the British firm will play a key role in helping Japan develop advanced capabilities and new technology in the aviation sector.

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