Japan to Jointly Develop Jet Engine of Its F-X Fighter With UK
Japan is set to jointly develop the engine of its future next-generation F-X fighter jet with the UK. The final framework of the cooperation between British company Rolls-Royce and Japan’s IHI Corporation is expected in March 2022.
The F-X is a sixth-generation fighter jet and Japan’s first indigenously developed stealth fighter. Test flights are expected to start in 2028 and end by 2031.
As per a report by Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper, the UK will help the country develop the engine’s air intake port and the part surrounding the exhaust port.
Japan’s F-X Jet
The jet, set to be developed by Mitsubishi, is expected to be built at a cost of over 5 trillion yen ($48 billion). Mitsubishi will be responsible for the airframe design and system development and will receive technical assistance from US-based Lockheed Martin.
The F-X is a twin-engine jet capable of mounting six internal weapons. It will replace the Mitsubishi F-2. The aircraft will complement the fleet of 147 F-35 jets Japan currently possesses.
Improving F-35’s Capabilities
Japan is reportedly unhappy with F-35 jets because of their modest armament, conventional take off, and capability to carry just four AIM-120 air-to-air missiles, which is less than its competitors. Russian Su-57 and Chinese J-20 stealth fighters can carry six missiles each, while the American F-22 Raptor can carry eight.
The F-X jets are likely to combine the F-22 stealth fighter’s design and the sensors and electronics of the F-35 jet. It is after a gap of four decades that the island nation is now working to develop a domestic fighter aircraft.