Japan is seeking proposals for a new advanced jet fighter based on an existing Western aircraft and wants American and British cooperation to help kick-start development of the project, which is estimated to cost around $40 billion (4 trillion yen), three sources said.
Japan this month issued a third request for information (RFI) to defense companies, seeking proposals for the new aircraft, dubbed the F-3. Unlike the first two requests, this one went only to foreign companies in the United States and Europe, with a separate, more detailed document delivered to London and Washington, according to the sources, who have direct knowledge of the requests.
"Japan expects specific proposals for designs based on existing aircraft," said one of the sources. The two previous RFIs did not attract any detailed proposals, he added.
The requests for a design based on existing aircraft and the separate documents sent to the British and U.S. governments have not been previously reported.
"We are considering domestic development, joint development and the possibility of improving existing aircraft performance, but we have not yet come to any decision," a Defense Ministry representative said. (end of excerpt)
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