Japan to Pursue Locally Developed Next Generation 'Future Fighter' Project (excerpt)
(Source: The Diplomat; posted Feb 05, 2019)
By Franz-Stefan Gady
The Japanese Ministry of Defense (MoD) confirmed that it has ruled out the development or local production of existing foreign-designed fighter jets to replace its fleet of F-2 multirole fighter aircraft, a Mitsubishi license-produced variant of Lockheed Martin’s F-16, by the 2030s, according to a MoD source.

The source said that the development and production of Japan’s new F-3 stealth fighter jet will be led by the country’s military aircraft industry with the possibility of collaboration with external partners including BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and Northrop Grumman, Jane’s reports on February 4.

“Our F-2 fighters are expected to retire from the late 2030s,” the MoD spokesperson was quoted as saying on February 1 by Jane’s. “In order to acquire new fighters that are capable of playing a central role in a future networked force … the MoD will promote necessary research and launch, at an early timing, a Japan-led project with the possibility of international collaboration in sight.”

The program is expected to officially kick off this year in line with the Mid-Term Defense Program (MTDP) and the National Defense Program Guidelines (NDPG), which set out Japan Self-Defense Force (JSDF) capability targets over a period of about 10 years. The entire Future Fighter (F-3) Program is anticipated to take about 15 years. (end of excerpt)


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