Japan Wants to Export Sixth-gen F-X/F-3 Fighter Jets to Compensate Development Costs

The cost of Japanese F-X fighter jet is expected to exceed $185 million and it is hoped that by selling the fighter overseas could help offset the development costs.

Japan’s government and the ruling Liberal Democrat Party have entered into discussions on the potential export of the future F-X fighter learned GDC quoting Kyodo Newspaper.

The Japanese MoD rejected proposals from BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman to jointly develop sixth-generation fighter jets. Lockheed Martin previously proposed a hybrid derivative of a fighter jet from the technology of F-22 and F-35 fighter jet. Japanese MoD declared that Japan would go along to develop the F-X fighter jet.

Japanese next-generation AESA radar developed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

Although Japan has yet to decide on whether to partner with the United States or the United Kingdom on its project to develop F-X next-generation fighter aircraft, news reports in Japan earlier in March suggested that the US had already been selected for the partnership role but the Ministry of Defense’s (MoD’s) Acquisition, Technology & Logistics Agency (ATLA) told Jane’s on March 10 that discussions with both the US and UK are continuing.

“We will launch a Japan-led development project with the possibility of international collaboration,” a spokesperson from ATLA said. “The Japan MoD is in discussion with the US and the UK from the viewpoint of ensuring interoperability, cost effectiveness, and technical reliability. We have been exploring the possibility of co-operation with these two countries.”

The spokesperson added, “There is no such fact that we have decided specific policies including partner countries. Furthermore, the Japanese MoD has excluded ‘a derivative of an existing model’ as an option for the fighter aircraft development programme and we came to the conclusion that we would develop ‘a new model’.”

In January the MoD released the first “conceptual image” of the new aircraft and also confirmed that the fighter development project is named ‘F-X’. The fighter is intended to replace the Japan Air-Self-Defense Force’s (JASDF’s) Mitsubishi F-2 fighter aircraft in the 2030s.

Japan’s defense minister Taro Kono told reporters on Mar. 27, 2020 the F-X fighter needs to have strong network capabilities and carry more missiles than the F-35.

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