TOKYO (AP) – Japan announced Friday that it will jointly develop its next-generation fighter jet with the U.K. and Italy as it looks to expand defense cooperation beyond its traditional ally, the United States.
F-2s were retired by Japan in favor of the Mitsubishi F-X fighter aircraft.
The nations will merge their current plans for development of next-generation planes – the F-X and Britain’s Tempest, a successor to the Eurofighter Typhoon – to produce the new combat aircraft for deployment in 2035. The deal will give Japan greater support in countering China’s growing assertiveness and allow Britain a bigger presence in the Indo-Pacific region.
The announcement came four days after Prime Minister Fumio Kishida set spending targets aimed at building up Japan’s military capability, including a huge boost in defense spending over the next five years. The government will require an additional 4 trillion yen (30 billion dollars) annually in defense spending to meet its five-year total spending of 43 trillion Japanese yen ($316billion). A quarter of this amount is to come from tax increases.
The Defence Command Paper announced that the UK Government will invest more than £2bn over the next four years in Tempest, the next-generation combat air system. pic.twitter.com/4RmjGJnGxD
— RAF Presentation Team (@RAF_Pres_Team) March 31, 2021
The country is likely to release a revised national security strategy later in the month that will allow it to build a preemptive strike capability, and to deploy long-range missiles. That’s a major and contentious shift away from Japan’s self-defense-only defense policy adopted after its World War II defeat in 1945.
Japan is expanding its defence partnerships with Indo-Pacific countries, Australia included, and other countries with Southeast Asian nations and Europe to counter the growing threat from China and North Korea.
Japan and Australia were present later Friday “2+2”After the signing of a new security deal in October by Anthony Albanese and Kishida, security discussions were held in Tokyo between defense and foreign ministers to talk about deepening their military ties. This agreement covers intelligence, cybersecurity and military cooperation.
In January, Australia and Japan signed a bilateral access agreement. “an architecture”In opening remarks, Richard Marles (Australian Defense Minister) stated that they would be able to work together more closely with the United States. Marles stated later at a joint press conference that Australia wanted to make more commitments. “high-end and complex”Exercises, bilaterally as well as with the United States.
Japan’s new security strategy allows it a bigger strike capability and it hopes to expand joint exercises in Australia, including firing drills that are difficult to conduct at home, Japanese Defense Ministry officials said.
In a speech earlier Friday, Marles said China´s military buildup is “the most significant factor shaping the stragetic landscape in which Australia and Japan exist,”Australia’s future will look very different. “a series of steps to ensure our defense and security settings respond to the environment around us.”
Japan’s Defense Ministry said the new aircraft will be a multi-role stealth fighter superior to the F-35 and the Eurofighter, with advanced censors and networking. Japanese officials stated that it is likely to replace the F-2s (94 in Japan) and the Eurofighters (144 in Britain), as well as the 94 Eurofighters from Italy.
Officials said that further details such as production targets, costs of development, and design are being discussed.
Kishida´s governing Liberal Democratic Party wants to further relax restrictions on Japanese arms exports and technology transfers so the jointly developed new fighters can be exported.
Japan eased an arms export ban in 2014 and created its own Acquisition, Technology & Logistics Agency a year later, seeking to beef up the sluggish domestic defense industry and promote joint technology research, development and sales with friendly nations. The government instead of increasing sales, has been encouraging big-ticket purchase from the United States. This strategy has not made much progress.
— RAF Cosford (@RAF_Cosford) June 10, 2022
Japan had initially thought Lockheed Martin would be its partner in the development of the next generation fighter. But it dropped the plan, reportedly due to the U.S. company´s reluctance to share expertise key to stealth technology.
Japan and America will instead cooperate “autonomous systems capabilities, which could complement Japan´s next fighter program,”The announcements were made Friday by the two governments.
Officials said that Japan had made it clear to Britain and Italy that they would exchange key information so each country could make its own repairs decisions.
Under the fighter jet agreement, Japan´s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries will partner with British defense contractor BAE Systems PLC. Italy´s Leonardo S.p.A will be a key player in the project. Japan´s IHI, Britain´s Rolls Royce and Italy´s Avio Aero will be in charge of its engine, while Mitsubishi Electric Co., Leonardo U.K. and Leonardo S.p.A. will work on avionics, the Japanese side said.
Rishi Sunak, British Prime Minster, said that the development of joint fighters reflects the need for defense technologies to be at the forefront in order to remain ahead “those who seek to do us harm.”Security of the Euro-Atlantic area and Indo-Pacific region are important. “indivisible,”He said.
He said that the office had ambition to create a jet. “enhanced by a network of capabilities such as uncrewed aircraft, advanced sensors, cutting-edge weapons and innovative data systems.”
Leaders of all three countries agreed in a joint statement to call the project “The Project” “the Global Combat Air Program,”This will strengthen defense ties and science and technology cooperation, integrate supply chains, and help to further strengthen defense industry.
The UK, Japan, and Italy agreed to start the Global Combat Air Programme in order to create a fighter jet.
1️⃣ Entering service from 2035
2️⃣ Combining defence industry expertise
3️⃣ Creating high-skilled jobs in the UK and partner countries
👉 https://t.co/oUNNdClgl7 pic.twitter.com/HdUvUqp28k
— Ministry of Defence (@DefenceHQ) December 9, 2022
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