US Lockheed Martin Admits Not Interested, Japan And UK Develop 6th Generation Fighter Jets

US Lockheed Martin Admits Not Interested, Japan And UK Develop 6th Generation Fighter Jets
Japan And UK Develop 6th Generation Fighter Jets

International Military - Japan will develop a new 6th generation stealth fighter. In early May 2022, news broke that Japan-based Mitsubishi would work with UK-based BAE Systems to develop Japan's future FX fighter.

The aim of this program is to replace the domestically built Mitsubishi F-2 by the mid-2030s, while strengthening the defense industry of Asian countries. Tokyo's defense posture is changing, and FX developments could help Japan enter the international arms market.

Development of the FX aircraft, also unofficially called the F-3, began after the United States voted to ban the export of the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor. The ban came as part of the 1997 Compliance amendment, which was meant to protect advanced fifth-generation technology. Since Japan was unable to purchase the Raptor, Japan began moving forward with a program to develop a domestically made fighter for the Japan Air Self-Defense Force.

As reported by TheDrive, the Japanese air force mainly relies on US-made fighters, including the F-15J Eagle and F-35A. In 2020, the Japanese Ministry of Defense announced that Lockheed Martin, maker of the F-35, was a potential partner in the FX program. The American aerospace giant has previously teamed up with Tokyo on the Mitsubishi F-2 multirole fighter, which is based on the F-16 airframe.

According to, the deal appears to be falling apart due to technology transfer issues, including upgrades. It has been suggested that American defense contractors seek to maintain control over software and even hardware upgrades, thereby limiting Japan's autonomy over the project.

That issue looks likely to be resolved, especially given that Lockheed Martin and the US Department of Defense were able to reach an agreement with Israel on the F-35. The Israeli F-35I “Adir” has a unique electronic warfare system, including sensors and countermeasures, on top of the US system.

Additional changes include the helmet display fitted by the Israeli Air Force, special datalink functionality for the Israel Defense Forces, and other enhancements that further enhance the F-35's already powerful data collection and processing capabilities.

Now it seems the Japanese government may be looking to the UK for the next generation of aircraft. Cooperation will not be limited to FX – Tokyo and London have announced plans to collaborate on engine parts.

As TheDrive reports, the UK Ministry of Defense is also aiming to support Japan's New Air-to-Air Missile programme. The weapon is expected to combine a Japanese-developed advanced radio frequency seeker with British expertise with regards to the MBDA Meteor beyond visual range air-to-air missile.

The UK and Japan have further agreed to collaborate on sensor technology for the sixth-generation Tempest fighter and the future FX fighter program. They have also agreed to cooperate on the Universal Advanced RF system of Japan and the United Kingdom or JAGUAR which is a universal radio frequency sensor technology. Obviously, a loss for the US is a gain for the UK.

The F-X, meanwhile, could allow Japan to catch up with and possibly even counter Russia's and China's stealth aircraft programs. Meanwhile it is known that Lockheed Martin seems uninterested in developing FX.

Quoted from The Diplomat, this was conveyed by a ruling Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker, who is a defense policy expert, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “Lockheed Martin is not very enthusiastic about developing Japan's next-generation fighter,” said a Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker. “In addition, for the US, the timing of Japan's next fighter development is not right because the US has already developed the F-35, the lawmaker said.

In their May 5 talks in London, Prime Minister Kishida Fumio and his British counterpart, Boris Johnson, confirmed that their countries would agree to a review of the joint development program by the end of the year. It is also equipped with the defense authorities of the two countries finalizing the specifications of the expanded cooperation.

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