Lockheed Martin will provide technology support to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, the prime contractor on the F-X program to supply 90 aircraft to succeed the aging F-2s employed by the Japanese Self-Defense Force.
Lockheed Martin selected against Boeing and BAE Systems
It was finally and unsurprisingly Lockheed Martin that the Japanese government chose to take on BAE Systems and Boeing for the F-X next-generation fighter aircraft project, selecting Mitsubishi Heavy Industries as the prime contractor to lead Japanese and U.S. companies that wwill participate in the program, with Lockheed Martin providing technology support. This decision comes at a time when Japan hopes to strengthen its alliance with the United States in the face of increasing Chinese military activity in the Asian region.
90 aircraft to replace the old F-2
Japan plans to manufacture approximately 90 aircraft to succeed the aging F-2, with deployment scheduled for 2035. The cost of the project is expected to exceed 5 trillion yen (48 billion euros). Initial planning costs will be included in the FY 2021 budget proposal to be approved by the Japanese cabinet later this month.
A turbojet engine developed by IHI
In October, the Japanese Ministry of Defense signed a contract with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries as prime contractor. The manufacturer will be responsible for the design of the aircraft and systems integration. The engineering company IHI will develop the engine, Subaru, which is active in the automotive and aerospace sector, will be in charge of the landing aircraft, and Toshiba and the Fujitsu IT group will produce the radar. The mission system, which controls electronic warfare, will be developed by Mitsubishi Electric.