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Japan prepares next-gen fighter development framework

Japan’s Ministry of Defense (MoD) has announced it will formalise a framework for the development of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force’s (JASDF) 5th generation F-X fighter.

While the JASDF will also acquire the 5th generation F-35 Lightning II it has been denied the F-22 Raptor because the US government has never cleared the aircraft for export and it is no longer in production in any case. Nevertheless, it still plans to acquire a 5th generation air superiority fighter and this announcement demonstrates its intent to go it alone, if necessary.

The Japanese MoD will stand up its Future Fighter Development Office in April 2020, following a successful technology demonstrator program, the X-2 Shinshin, which showed that Japan’s aerospace industry could produce a viable 5thgeneration stealthy design.

It’s not clear at this stage what the avionics and sensor performance requirements for this new aircraft might be, nor which industry teams might tackle these projects.

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