The difficult choice of new Japanese military aircraft
In addition to technology, we must look at the geopolitical balance
The options are different and the choice is made even more difficult by the geopolitical balance to manage. Japan must carefully evaluate its future program relating to military aircraft: factors such as the ease of updating aircraft software, but also intellectual property will undoubtedly weigh; furthermore, it is necessary to understand with which nations it is more appropriate to strengthen partnerships. In the decade that will begin in 2030, Tokyo will replace the current fighters, namely Mitsubishi F-2 (see also the article published by AVIONEWS).
The selection is up to Atla, a Japanese government agency that deals with technology and logistics; the most promising consultations concerned both Great Britain and United States, a sort of "match" that for now hangs nowhere. Can Tokyo and London get along well in this respect? Aerospace sectors of the two countries are equally advanced, despite a bit less experience in some divisions.
In the case of United States, on the other hand, Japan is in talks with Lockheed Martin: the fleet of military aircraft currently supplied to the Land of the Rising Sun is mainly composed of Boeing F-15J aircraft, 98 of which are being updated. The aircraft of the future will likely be larger in size, but when will there be a more certain decision? Collaboration with another nation could begin in April 2021, while the prototype is expected by the end of 2024: the actual tests have been scheduled in 2027, in addition to full production, set for 2031.
AVIONEWS - World Aeronautical Press Agency