TOKYO --- The United States has proposed disclosing some of the top-secret details of its state-of-the-art F-35 stealth fighter jet to Japan to encourage joint development of an aircraft that will succeed the Air Self-Defense Force’s F-2 fighter, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.
The ASDF also has some F-35s. The U.S. plan, which was proposed to the Defense Ministry, would open the door to a jointly developed successor jet based on the F-35 and other fighters, which would be one of the world’s leading fighter aircraft.
According to Japanese government sources, the United States has indicated a willingness to release confidential details about the software installed in the F-35 airframe to control parts including the engine and the missiles. If the F-35 software, currently held exclusively by the U.S. side, is diverted to the F-2 successor aircraft, the United States will disclose the source code to the Japanese side.
If the joint development goes ahead, the United States reportedly is prepared to allow components made in Japan to be included with U.S.-made parts that will be used in the F-2’s successor. If these proposals materialize, it would widen the scope for Japanese companies to participate in the aircraft’s development.
The Japanese and U.S. governments started seriously discussing the U.S. proposal at the end of March. The Japanese government intends to decide on the course of the aircraft’s development, including whether to accept the U.S. proposal, by the end of this year. (end of excerpt)
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