The avionics designated for research include conformal radar antennas, electronic support measures and electronic countermeasure systems, and infrared search and tracking systems. Interestingly, the “automatic repair of flight control capability” is also mentioned. This implies a system that can automatically detect failures or combat losses and activate the remaining control surfaces, including the aircraft’s thrust vectoring nozzles, to keep the aircraft in control.
Before the announcement today, it has been confirmed that Japan will follow three methods to deploy new fighters: developing aircraft entirely domestically, establishing joint ventures with the help of foreign partners, or purchasing ready-made foreign fighters. Another more radical proposal envisages the use of unmanned fighter jets to replace the F-2 fleet.According to reports, the drone fighter proposal was considered a cost-saving measure, but it was cancelled earlier this year, you can learn more in the past War zone sheet.
Choosing the second option reflects a pragmatic approach that promises to obtain technical support and expertise from partners with experience in the field while maintaining the domestic defense industry. For MHI̵
According to the Ministry of Defense of Japan, the foreign partners of the fighter jet project will make a decision before the end of this year. Possible candidates include Lockheed Martin in the United States and BAE Systems in the United Kingdom, which currently manufactures Typhoon multirole fighters for export as part of the multinational European Fighter Federation. Other US companies that have previously expressed interest in joining the project include Boeing and Northrop Grumman.
Japanese media reports indicate that sharing stealth technology will be an important requirement for foreign partners, which may provide Lockheed Martin with an advantage. It not only has rich experience in producing fighters that defeat radar, but also established the F-35 with Japan and cooperated with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to produce this F-35. Lockheed Martin and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries have established a partnership on the final assembly and checkout (FACO) equipment of the JASDF F-35A variant in Nagoya, Japan.
It is also worth noting that Lockheed Martin’s F-22 Raptor was once Japan’s first choice as a future fighter, but the export ban issued by the U.S. Congress even prevented it from being acquired by one of America’s closest allies. . According to reports, once the Raptor Avenue was closed, Japan also asked Lockheed Martin to provide detailed information on potential F-22/F-35 hybrid vehicles. Although Japanese officials seem to have ruled out this design earlier this year and refocused on truly local products, such a proposal may re-emerge as a competitor to meet F-3 requirements.
Another factor in choosing a partner may be the rapidly developing defense relationship between Japan and Britain. Europe is one of the core partner countries of Eurofighter multinationals’ efforts, involving British companies, including BAE Systems jet engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce. The United Kingdom is currently developing a “tempest” future fighter with the strong support of Italy and Sweden. There have been discussions in the past about Japan becoming another potential partner of Tempest. Tokyo’s goal is to put a new fighter into service by 2035, which may coincide with the British plan to use Tempest as a typhoon’s successor within this time. .