TOKYO --- Lockheed Martin will allow Japanese companies to produce more than 50% of a next-generation fighter jet that Japan wants to introduce in 2030, according to a written proposal from the big U.S. defense contractor.
The proposal, made known to Nikkei on Wednesday, had earlier been submitted to Japan's Defense Ministry.
The proposal calls for upgrading Lockheed Martin's F-22 fighter jet. Japanese companies will be responsible for more than 50% of the development and production work. A new engine will also be developed.
If the share of the work pans out as proposed, it would strengthen the Japanese defense industry and the Japan-U.S. alliance.
Lockheed Martin's proposal comes in response to concerns in Japan that U.S. companies might monopolize the development and production of the new aircraft, leaving little room for Japanese companies' involvement.
Lockheed Martin has expressed a willingness to allow major Japanese heavy machinery maker IHI to be responsible for the development and production of the new aircraft's engine.
The U.S. currently bans exports of the F-22, sometimes called "the Raptor." The jet is thought to be the world's most powerful fighter. Lockheed's decision to provide the aircraft to Japan comes out of the belief that there is little risk of technology leaks. The company also concluded that providing the fighter to Japan would contribute to the security of Asia. (end of excerpt)
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