Japanese aerospace and defense giant Kawasaki Heavy Industries and electronics company NEC will join the Mitsubishi F-X project, the country’s next-generation fighter jet program.
With this, the total number of Japanese firms getting involved in the project goes up to eight.
Reports suggest negotiations are underway with American aerospace juggernaut Lockheed Martin as well. The Maryland-headquartered Lockheed Martin, which has developed the F-35 stealth fighter jets, is likely to provide technological support for the Japanese sixth-generation fighter jet.
According to Nikkei Asia, with the participation of KHI and NEC, the total number of Japanese companies getting involved in the F-X program stands at eight.
Heavy machinery maker IHI Corporation is tasked with building the engine for the fighter jet. The development of the aircraft’s body is supposed to be carried out by Kawasaki Heavy and automaker Subaru.
Mitsubishi Electic is in charge of developing the fighter jet’s mission system, which controls electronic warfare (EW). On the other hand, Toshiba, Fujitsu, and NEC will produce the aircraft’s electrical equipment, including the radar.
The fighter jet program, which is overseen by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, is aimed at developing a multi-role fighter jet capable of engaging land, sea, and aerial targets.
The fighter jets, which are supposed to be deployed as early as 2035, will replace Japan’s aging fleet of F-2 fighters, which were developed by MHI and Lockheed Martin two decades ago.
The program, which is said to cost around $40 billion, had selected Lockheed Martin as one of the partners, with American companies including Boeing and Northrop Grumman and British BAE Systems and Rolls Royce also showing interest.
The next-generation fighter jets will be developed at a Mitsubishi Heavy factory in Aichi Prefecture.