Japan’s forthcoming next-generation ‘F-X’ fighter jet which is being built along with US aerospace giants Lockheed Martin will feature advanced technology like microwave weapons.
The Maryland-based Lockheed Martin, which currently stands as the leading fighter jet maker in the world, having produced the stealthy duo of F-35 Lightning II stealth fighters and F-22 Raptors, will aid the country in producing the newest fighters.
Known as the F-X or the F-3, the new fighter will replace the older F-2 combat aircraft currently in Japanese service. Also developed by Lockheed, the F-2 fighters are a larger and more expensive version of the US F-16 Fighting Falcons.
F-X fighter jet concept
Over the course of the 2030-40 year period, the next-generation Japanese fighters will succeed the older fighters which were developed during the 1990s.
The fighter will definitely be aided in be one of the most futuristic aircraft with the presence of some modern never-seen-before technology.
A Japanese F-2 fighter jet
According to Forbes, the F-X fighter will boast features that will include remote drone control capabilities, a Virtual Reality-style helmet-mounted display along with a radar that can double as a microwave weapon.
As per reports, the fighter’s microwave weapon might be a function of the nose-mounted radar system which will allow the pilot to close in on enemies while frying incoming missiles in his path.
While radars are detection systems that use radio waves to check the range, angle, or velocity of objects, they are known to also possess the ability to damage electronics and kill or injure people or animals.
However, for the radars to be used as an effective weapon like that, is yet to be seen, and the F-X fighters might just bring it to reality. The microwave weapons clearly fall under the Directed Energy Weapons, which lie at the heart of advanced combat.
Directed Energy Weapons or DEWS are ranged weapons that use highly focused energy, including laser, microwaves, and particle beams to damage targets.
The weapons are considered a crucial factor in future contactless warfare with the potential applications of the laser technology leading to possess weapons that could target enemy fighter jets, personnel, vehicles, missiles, and optical devices.
Apart from microwave weapons, the new fighter might also possess the ability to exchange information with other American or Japanese forces, with the help of the Link 16 secure data transfer system.
Link 16 is a military tactical data link network through which military aircraft, ships, and ground forces exchange their tactical picture in near-real-time.
It is used by NATO and nations allowed by the MIDS (Multifunctional Information Distribution System) International Program Office (IPO).
Moreover, the new fighter will also boast a large internal weapons bay designed to carry six weapons, giving Japan the ability to have a superior fighter with massive firepower and state-of-the-art features.
As per reports, the new fighter will be unveiled as a prototype in 2024, which will be followed up its first flight four years later.
The F-X’s full production will commence in 2031, with Japan spending around $48 billion to cover the development as well as production costs of building 90 such aircraft.