Japan, UK, Italy to agree on next-generation F-X fighter development

Japanese Defense Ministry and kazu07 / Shutterstock.com

The authorities of Japan will soon reach an agreement with the United Kingdom and Italy on the development of a successor for the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF)’s F-2 fighter.

A formal agreement is expected in December 2022, as reported by the local daily newspaper Asahi. The arrangement will include provisions for the export of the future fighter jet.

Japan’s next-generation fighter jet will replace the Mitsubishi F-2, a Japanese version of the F-16, currently operated by the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force. It should be a twin-engine stealth fighter which will include the research done on the experimental X-2 Shinshin, a canceled fifth-generation fighter jet program. In November 2020, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) was awarded the leadership of the F-X program. 

British aerospace manufacturer BAE Systems will help Mitsubishi Heavy Industries develop the F-X fighter, while Rolls-Royce will assist IHI Corporation with developing the XF9 engine for the aircraft. According to Asahi, Avio Aero from Italy will also be involved in the development of the engine.

The F-X fighter is set to be operational by 2035, when the F-2 will begin to be phased out.


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