The fiscal 2020 national budget is likely to include funding to develop a successor to the Air Self-Defense Force’s F-2 fighter, multiple government sources said.
The goal is for Japan to lead the development process, which at present is estimated to cost at least ¥1.5 trillion ($14 billion). The government wants the new fighter to be ready by the mid-2030s, when phaseout of the F-2 is scheduled to begin.
With deterring China’s increasing aggressiveness at sea a major concern, the leading proposal within the government is for the successor jet to be the first domestically produced stealth fighter and be equipped with advanced air combat capabilities.
Another proposal is to equip the fighter with long-range cruise missiles and robust anti-ship capabilities in addition to the advanced air combat capabilities.
Plans are proceeding based on an assumption that the ASDF would receive about 90 of the new fighters, similar to its current F-2 force.
The development costs are expected to be listed as a “required item” in the budgetary request. Yen amounts are not disclosed for such items.
The fighter’s concept is expected to be finalized and its cost calculated before work on the next fiscal year’s budget begins at the end of this year.
The government believes that because of factors such as the high cost and the need for systems that can share information with the U.S. military, it will be difficult for the fighter to be wholly domestically produced. Some foreign technology is expected to be included. (end of excerpt)
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