Japan, Britain, Italy to Develop New Advanced Fighter Jet

Japan, Britain, Italy to Develop New Advanced Fighter Jet

TOKYO — On Thursday, ministers responsible for defense in Japan, Britain, and Italy signed an agreement establishing the organization which will work towards developing a cutting-edge next generation fighter to reinforce ties among these states against heightened challenges stemming from China, Russia, and the Koreas.

These nations agreed last year that they would consolidate earlier solo plans of the Japanese Mitsubishi F-X in order to meet the F-2 retirements and the British’s Tempest, which is scheduled to be rolled out in 2035.

In this regard, Britain wants to provide it with more presence in the Indo-pacific region as Japan has started to build its army quickly so that they can challenge growing aggression of China.

During a joint news conference with his British and Italian counterparts, Grant Shapps and Guido Crosett, the Japanese defense minister, Minoru Kihara asserted that co-development of a high–performance fighter aircraft is “essential to maintaining air supremacy and ass

Kihara stated that no single country is capable of defending herself in this day and age, with regard to its cost and political risks of development of highly tech plane for war. He called the joint trilateral air combat program as a “historic program” since it helps them to create a new fighter airplane in collaboration.

The plan entails establishment of an IGO referred to as International Government Organization that will oversee the JV – which involves Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy, Britain’s BAE Systems PLC and Italy’s Leonardo – that will develop the aircraft. The organization is responsible for allocating work in different departments such as the engine and the avionics.

Kihara explained that the UK-based company called GIGO would be presided over by a Japanese official with the chief of the joint venture being an Italian known as Kihara. This rotation of posts at the top will be done after a few years according to Japanese defence authorities.

In fact, Japan is making up for time lost while it was waiting for approval domestically in order to move forward with policy aimed against exporting lethal weapons. Japan’s post war constitution restricts it from selling off the fighter jet that would have been jointly developed together with Britain and Italy, which they expect to do, hence complicating the project.

The government panel of Japan discussed the possibility of easing military sales and decided to ease the restrictions on the transfer of licensed technology and equipment. However, it just deferred an ease of the joint fighter jet policy to January 2015.

However defense officials declined to comment on what this might mean for the joint venture.

This is the first occasion that Japan has taken part in a multi-natonal organisation, acting in concert to build novel weapons systems.

In response, Japan has broadened its security ties with countries in the European region, Southeast, Indo-pacific and South regions such as South Korea, Australia, the Philippines, etc.