Japanese next generation fighter study (aka i3, F-3)

aonestudio

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Ares

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UK defense ministry surely has better promotion skill than our's.

Currently, our defense ministry hiding the information about the development of future figthter so much, even the finance ministry asked them to publish detailed plan to gain public understanding for huge tax spending on the recently released defense budget audit report. :rolleyes:
 

timmymagic

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In contrast to the ASM-3, Japan is developing an air launched version of the Type 12 or more accurately the extended range Type 17 SSM-2 as a slower, but much longer range stand-off weapon. The Type 17 already doubled the range of the Type 12, so we can only assume the range benefits of an air launched version.

Interestingly, it appears that the Type 17 may share the same AESA seeker as the AAM-4B. Which means its the same (or at least very closely related) as that going into the Meteor-derived JNAAM. Which could potentially have some implications for the secondary use of Meteor....MBDA and RAF were already talking about its use as an Anti-Radiation Missile at DSEi 2019...could it do a limited anti-ship role as well? Hitting anything at m4.0+ tends to hurt a little...
 

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Consdering how costly stelth is and how small the production order will be (less then the f-22!) I have a hard time seeing this plan leave the ground (same with both European 6th generation as well, and Consdering the cost of the f-35 maby not even the us).
 

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Consdering how costly stelth is and how small the production order will be (less then the f-22!) I have a hard time seeing this plan leave the ground (same with both European 6th generation as well, and Consdering the cost of the f-35 maby not even the us).

Well same thing can be said for Japanese F-2 program but... This is Japanese. they will take the cost and live with it.
 

Flyaway

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Consdering how costly stelth is and how small the production order will be (less then the f-22!) I have a hard time seeing this plan leave the ground (same with both European 6th generation as well, and Consdering the cost of the f-35 maby not even the us).
That's some wildly hot take.
I think you’re being very polite in your wording there.;)
 

GTX

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It depends upon what the drivers are. If simple cost of acquisition (i.e. purchase price per F-3 vs F-35 vs....) then you are probably correct. However, if one factors in aspects such as development/maintenance of domestic capability, domestic jobs creation/maintenance and also money spent in local economy vs overseas than you might see a different outcome.
 

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On February 15, the UK signed an agreement on joint research with Japan on next-generation RF sensor systems. This system, called "JAGUAR", can detect threats from land, sea and air in a wide range and instantly, find targets accurately, and prevent detection from enemy country surveillance technology. It is expected to be used in the next fighter aircraft.
View: https://twitter.com/UKinJapan/status/1493526758909431812

Today, the Ministry of Defense and the British Ministry of Defense have begun joint research on a radar system that is expected to be installed on fighter jets in the future. In the existing radar system, a single thin beam is rotated in different directions at regular intervals to sequentially search. On the other hand, this joint research makes it possible to search a wide area instantly by forming a large number of received beams at the same time. Such radar system technology for aircraft is unprecedented in other countries. By establishing this technology, it is expected that the search capability of fighters will be greatly improved in the future.
View: https://twitter.com/atla_kouhou_jp/status/1493496467172257792

Signing of an agreement on joint research between the Ministry of Defense and the UK Ministry of Defense on technology demonstration of next-generation RF sensor systems
On the 15th, the Japan Ministry of Defense and the UK Ministry of Defense signed an agreement on joint research on technology demonstration of the next generation RF sensor system. This joint study is based on the results of joint research conducted in 2018. Japan and the UK will jointly design, manufacture, and test evaluate antenna for aircraft in order to realize the next generation RF sensor system that can search a wide range of areas.
The results of this joint study are expected to be used to improve the radio wave sensor capabilities of fighter jets in the future.
 
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X-39

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Not sure i agree with him on this thoughts of Japan "winning" the 6th Gen race. Build and get your protoype airborne first then we'll talk, there are people who claim this because the X-2 was hanging around since 2016, but i don't think it counts as it was purely a technology demo and doubt it will have much resemblance to whatever final design the real FX is:
 

Kota

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Not sure i agree with him on this thoughts of Japan "winning" the 6th Gen race. Build and get your protoype airborne first then we'll talk, there are people who claim this because the X-2 was hanging around since 2016, but i don't think it counts as it was purely a technology demo and doubt it will have much resemblance to whatever final design the real FX is:
In terms of non-US programs I see 0 issue with making this claim. For starters, I don't think there is a single person with surface level knowledge on the F-X that thinks it's going to be X-2 2.0. The biggest requirements for the F-X is long endurance and a very large missile capacity which simply isn't going to happen on an airframe smaller than the F-35. The significance of the X-2 is that Japan had a domestic 5th gen flying in 2016 which is more than what anyone on FCAS or Tempest can say in 2022 and that the main bar from a full fledged production was economic rather than a technological one.

In fact the domestic industry that would go into a 6th gen is already very advanced for Japan. The F-22's RAM and heat-absorbing engine ceramics are both Japanese designs licensed to US companies. Japan had the APG-1 in service in 2000 while the RBE2-AA took until 2013 and Captor-E is still struggling to find it's way into Typhoons. The XF9 has done static testing and Rolls-Royce's super-alloy plants for the Tempest engine are reliant on there Japanese plants and industry. Airbus just celebrated their first aerial launch of a UAV on the 22nd of February where they literally shoved a target drone out of the back of an A-400M. Meanwhile the Fuji TACOM with actual mission systems onboard was dropped off the wing of F-15Js back in the early 2000s.

The big limiting factor is the economics and Japan has seemingly gotten that down as well with the recent partnerships with the UK. The most important part is that Japan went to the individual sub-contractors like RR to make these deals rather than straight to BAE to join tempest. The biggest problems with these multi-national projects is you have 3, 4, 5, different nations all aiming for their best interest which creates problems and can even cause the entire program to collapse. The Japanese route means that they are completely disconnected from the geopolitics of Tempest and regardless of if the Tempest enters production, at the end of the day they will have their engine and they will have their radar system which will go on their own airframe rather than the Tempest-J.

As far as things are concerned Japan is the best set up for a 6th gen out of the non-US programs and even then the non-US programs are maintaining a very competitive pace. So far the F-X and tempest are rated for IOC in 2035. The NGAD on the other hand is just rated for 2030s with no specific year while also being dependent on F-22 retirement. Either one can experience delays, but I don't think it's outlandish the idea that Japan with UK resource support could match the US in 6th gen development.
 

Archibald

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China is also a massive, threatening, and powerful motivation for Japan.
Just like North Korea is, to South Korea - and Boramae is proof that, when there is a threat, things happens faster.
Japan had hard times with their F-2 & F-2 Jaguar and F-16 "clones" (don't take that word badly please) but they learned from these.
We will see.
 

Kota

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China is also a massive, threatening, and powerful motivation for Japan.
Just like North Korea is, to South Korea - and Boramae is proof that, when there is a threat, things happens faster.
Japan had hard times with their F-2 & F-2 Jaguar and F-16 "clones" (don't take that word badly please) but they learned from these.
We will see.
That's another good point that you bring up. There is this idea that the world is still living in the late 1980s cold war with a very Eurocentric idea of modern warfare when in reality western Europe hasn't had any real threat since 1991. The cold war was a huge driving force for military innovation and now we have a new cold war in the East. It's insane to me how many people I talk to that think that since Japan "can't have a military", their fighting force is some low level conscript force, then how shocked they are to find out that the Self Defense Force is essentially larger than any western European military.

Also from what I've seen on the GSDF and MSDF front, Japan is actually really efficient with budget and timeline. Japan has an extremely strict budgetary limit so they have to be very selective of where it goes. The Mogami's and Soryuu's have had extremely smooth development and manufacturing as far as I can tell. On the GSDF side, you rarely see a program that isn't successful. Their prototyping is super efficient as they generally have an exact idea of what they want from the beginning. For example, the Leopard 2 had something like 18 different prototypes all wildly different. The Type 90 had 2 initial ones. One quite different, one very close to the production vehicle. The 3rd design was essentially identical to the production Type 90.

This makes it sound like an ASDF problem, but it's more of an outsider meddling program and LockMart deals in planes, not tanks and boats. The collaboration with the UK seems incredibly favorable to both sides and Japan especially, so I don't see a repeat of the F-2.
 
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Flyaway

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China is also a massive, threatening, and powerful motivation for Japan.
Just like North Korea is, to South Korea - and Boramae is proof that, when there is a threat, things happens faster.
Japan had hard times with their F-2 & F-2 Jaguar and F-16 "clones" (don't take that word badly please) but they learned from these.
We will see.
I imagine Japan looks at Russia, then looks at China, and goes yep we need a new aircraft asap.
 

red admiral

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The F-22's RAM and heat-absorbing engine ceramics are both Japanese designs licensed to US companies.
Eh?
The significance of the X-2 is that Japan had a domestic 5th gen flying in 2016
That's not really a 5th Gen fighter. Its a subscale airframe with some planform alignment but no weapon bay or mission systems. There's substantially more to do to get an operational system.

But I agree with your overall point.
 

Kota

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This case arose out of Defendant’s alleged use of the invention claimed in the ‘162 Patent. Although originally focused on the development and production of the B-2 Stealth Bomber, the litigation now centers on the manufacture and production of the new F-22 fighter. The F-22 fighter is currently under development by the United States Government. Defendant has contracted with Lockheed Martin Corporation (hereinafter “Lockheed”) to design and build the F-22 fighter. Lockheed has subcontracted with other companies to provide fiber sheet products for the F-22 fighter. Two fiber sheet products are at issue in the present action. The first product is a prepreg made from Nicalon fiber, which is a product of the Nippon Carbon Company (a Japanese company) and is distributed by COI Ceramics, Inc., in the United States. There is no evidence before the Court that indicates whether the Nicalon fibers are manufactured inside or outside of the United States. The second product is a silicon carbide fiber mat product made from Tyranno fibers. Although Defendant asserts that Tyranno fibers are manufactured exclusively in Japan by Ube Industries, this remains a genuine issue of material fact.

This is also why Japan was noticeably more pissed than other countries that were denied F-22 sales by US congress.
 

Maro.Kyo

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Also from what I've seen on the GSDF and MSDF front, Japan is actually really efficient with budget and timeline. Japan has an extremely strict budgetary limit so they have to be very selective of where it goes. The Mogami's and Soryuu's have had extremely smooth development and manufacturing as far as I can tell. On the GSDF side, you rarely see a program that isn't successful. Their prototyping is super efficient as they generally have an exact idea of what they want from the beginning. For example, the Leopard 2 had something like 18 different prototypes all wildly different. The Type 90 had 2 initial ones. One quite different, one very close to the production vehicle. The 3rd design was essentially identical to the production Type 90.

This makes it sound like an ASDF problem, but it's more of an outsider meddling program and LockMart deals in planes, not tanks and boats. The collaboration with the UK seems incredibly favorable to both sides and Japan especially, so I don't see a repeat of the F-2.
Kinda off topic, but I'd say you rather swap the "G" out of GSDF with an "A", considering all those messed up acquirement programs they've had since the last 2 decades with costs going through the roof, requirements not being met and delays kicking in. Point about MSDF I very much agree.
 

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Kinda off topic, but I'd say you rather swap the "G" out of GSDF with an "A", considering all those messed up acquirement programs they've had since the last 2 decades with costs going through the roof, requirements not being met and delays kicking in. Point about MSDF I very much agree.
It is true that there are significant delays for example the 2016 MCV and now 2022/23 MAV, ICV, and RCV all stem from a very early 2000s program. On the flip side it does show how concise JGSDF programs are with identifying needs. I only know of a select few GSDF programs that are truly cancelled while many are sitting on the shelf until the required funding kicks in (which is a lot longer when the GSDF is the ugly stepchild). The ASDF has also had really good programs such as the C-2 and P-1 being combined into a singular project with interchangeable parts. It was extremely smart on Kawasaki at the development level, but any potential cost saving were squandered at the bureaucratic level by failing to fund significant large scale production numbers. The GSDF has had it's blunders and ASDF has had it's successes.
 

starviking

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This case arose out of Defendant’s alleged use of the invention claimed in the ‘162 Patent. Although originally focused on the development and production of the B-2 Stealth Bomber, the litigation now centers on the manufacture and production of the new F-22 fighter. The F-22 fighter is currently under development by the United States Government. Defendant has contracted with Lockheed Martin Corporation (hereinafter “Lockheed”) to design and build the F-22 fighter. Lockheed has subcontracted with other companies to provide fiber sheet products for the F-22 fighter. Two fiber sheet products are at issue in the present action. The first product is a prepreg made from Nicalon fiber, which is a product of the Nippon Carbon Company (a Japanese company) and is distributed by COI Ceramics, Inc., in the United States. There is no evidence before the Court that indicates whether the Nicalon fibers are manufactured inside or outside of the United States. The second product is a silicon carbide fiber mat product made from Tyranno fibers. Although Defendant asserts that Tyranno fibers are manufactured exclusively in Japan by Ube Industries, this remains a genuine issue of material fact.

This is also why Japan was noticeably more pissed than other countries that were denied F-22 sales by US congress.
But given the AEGIS secrets leak from the MSDF, perhaps the denial was more justified.
 

helmutkohl

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TLDR:
Most of Japan's (if not all) defense industry manufacturers are entirely owned/operated by the private sector, with many companies, especially small to mid sized ones, leaving the defense market (not so profitable) to focus on other things. This makes issues with sourcing components in the long term difficult. May affect big projects like the next gen fighter.

 

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@helmutkohl : probably not the right link (although interesting to read):
n Sept. 23, a Panama-registered cargo ship had a medical emergency 670 km northeast of Iwo Jima, the Pacific island that gained notoriety for the fierce World War II battle fought there. At the ship's request, Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force dispatched a US-2 amphibian rescue aircraft from Iwakuni base, 1,360 km to the northwest of Iwo Jima on Japan's main Honshu island.
 

Ares

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Italy shows interest in participating Japan's F-X programme during defense ministers meeting.

 

Kota

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That is an interesting development and has me wondering what's happening internally with tempest. I don't know about the F-X, but where I do see this going is a new jet trainer for Japan. Japan has been looking to replace the T-4 and T-7 since at least July of last year.
1649885075384.png
Maybe Kawasaki license producing the M-345 or Aermacchi and Kawasaki teaming up to jointly develop a new trainer specifically for Japan. Regardless I do see things coming out of this partnership even if it's not F-X related
 

helmutkohl

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^ while there's concerns over Japan's ability to do the F-3 alone (either technologically or financially)
I believe a T-4 and T-7 replacement is easily within the capabilities of Kawasaki or Mitsubishi, while IHI should be able to provide engines
 

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There is no doubt that Japan can produce something like a trainer, but the question is why should they bother. The market is already incredibly saturated, so there is little success to be found on the export market if they wanted to go that route. They simply need something to train the basics as any advanced stuff can be handled by the F-2B and F-15DJ. It would be much better to just license produce an off the shelf solution and put the money saved into F-X or more P-1/C-2 procurement.
 

kaiserd

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Given that Japan is (quite urgently, by their standards) building a top of the line fighter than the industrial development/ support arguments for also developing and building an advance trainer at the same time appears quite limited. Indeed it would appear to be a potential impediment to fielding an F-3 as quickly and efficiently as possible, creating a competitor for limited resources. And that’s before considering impacts on other aviation and defence priorities.
A licence built advanced trainer (or even just a full direct purchase, if politically thinkable for Japan) would undoubtedly be cheaper and quicker and potentially could have wider foreign policy advantages (with the US and/or EU, or even South Korea if the will and imagination was there).
 

helmutkohl

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I would argue two things
1. Job creation, as they have usually done in the past
2. maintaining the know how.
these two reasons why such projects like the T-4, F-1, etc, despite its low scale of production and lack of exports, are reasons for Japan following down that line
3. Japan is now a bit more open to exports, as seen with the Mogami ships and their attempts to sell the US-2 to India.
4. Finally, Japan is also increasing its defense budget, which may allow for both the development of an advance trainer and acquiring other aircraft.

The problems however, is motivating the business sector to keep researching and producing defense related components. As the article above posted, several companies have called it quits, opting to focus on the civilian market which is more profitable.

I'm also becoming more pessimistic about the F-3 being something mostly a domestic design, and would not be surprised if urgency and funding would push them to simply make a licensed design of something the US or UK would make. If they go down that route, then I see more motivation to develop a domestic trainer, which could also be more easily exported.
 

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The problems however, is motivating the business sector to keep researching and producing defense related components. As the article above posted, several companies have called it quits, opting to focus on the civilian market which is more profitable.

ouch, i guess Japan can use "Made in Japan" initiative for weapons program. It may affects export tho e.g ships as some interested countries may not necessarily want or allowed to get US made mk-41 VLS cell. While Japan have no alternative for those.
 

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Looks like the US has finally threw in the hat on becoming the F-X partner. However they will likely be the partner for whatever the Japanese loyal wingman will be called.
 

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Since the related lines are at the very bottom of this long but interesting interview, forgive me if I took the liberty to add the related content below (translation via Ggl translate):

Then there is the next fighter. At today's meeting, we also exchanged opinions on the next fighter. Specifically, I explained the possibility of Japan-UK cooperation, and the US side showed understanding and welcomed the progress of Japan-UK cooperation. We have also agreed with Secretary Austin to explore the possibility of US-Japan cooperation on the development of UAVs that are expected to collaborate with FX in the form of teaming. In any case, we will continue to work closely with the United States, such as by conducting joint studies to ensure interoperability.
 

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Looks like BAE will take the place of LM's position.

Edit: Oops, I interpret it wrongly. BAE is not only replace LM, but gonna involve in the full scale joint development if the article says true.

The Defense Ministry is reportedly coordinating a joint research and development project for the next generation fighter with Britain, led by British Air Defense Equipment giant BAE Systems and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. Several government officials said. A formal agreement will be reached by the end of the year according to the Japan-British summit on Tuesday. Although the next fighter jet was considered to be supported by Lockheed Martin, it will be a de facto change of policy.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and BAE Systems will participate in the aircraft, and IHI, a major shipbuilding heavy machinery company, and Rolls-Royce, Britain, will cooperate to discuss the engine. Some Italian companies and Lockheed may also participate. Last December, the Japanese and British defense authorities agreed to jointly study the development of the next fighter engine and were also exploring the possibility of joint development of other major parts.

With the support of Lockheed, which co-developed the F2, the next fighter jet was seeking to be developed under the leadership of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. However, due to difficulties in coordinating with Lockheed, the government decided to switch its main focus to the U.K. after gaining an understanding of the U.S. government. However, from the perspective of interoperability, cooperation with the U.S. will continue, and the unmanned combat support system will be jointly developed with the U.S.

With the U.S., the retirement period of old-fashioned fighter jets did not coincide with that of the U.S., so there was a cost problem. In addition, Lockheed's high level of concealment, such as the renovation of the aircraft in the U.S. mainland, has become a problem in technology sharing as a "black box."

The Defense Ministry plans to start operations around the 17th year of the Reiwa era, and the budget for fiscal year 4 includes 85.8 billion yen for development.

A high-ranking official of the ministry said, "The joint development with non-U.S. countries is unprecedented and epoch-making."


There was a rumor that Japanese engineers didn't like the participation of Lockheed Martin, despite being favored by politicians. So since last year, there have been predictions that the final contract with Lockheed Martin will be canceled, and it seems actually come true.
 
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zen

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Looks like BAE will take the place of LM's position.

The Defense Ministry is reportedly coordinating a joint research and development project for the next generation fighter with Britain, led by British Air Defense Equipment giant BAE Systems and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. Several government officials said. A formal agreement will be reached by the end of the year according to the Japan-British summit on Tuesday. Although the next fighter jet was considered to be supported by Lockheed Martin, it will be a de facto change of policy.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and BAE Systems will participate in the aircraft, and IHI, a major shipbuilding heavy machinery company, and Rolls-Royce, Britain, will cooperate to discuss the engine. Some Italian companies and Lockheed may also participate. Last December, the Japanese and British defense authorities agreed to jointly study the development of the next fighter engine and were also exploring the possibility of joint development of other major parts.

With the support of Lockheed, which co-developed the F2, the next fighter jet was seeking to be developed under the leadership of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. However, due to difficulties in coordinating with Lockheed, the U.S. government decided to switch its main focus to the U.K. after gaining an understanding of the U.S. government. However, from the perspective of interoperability, cooperation with the U.S. will continue, and the unmanned combat support system will be jointly developed with the U.S.

With the U.S., the retirement period of old-fashioned fighter jets did not coincide with that of the U.S., so there was a cost problem. In addition, Lockheed's high level of concealment, such as the renovation of the aircraft in the U.S. mainland, has become a problem in technology sharing as a "black box."

The Defense Ministry plans to start operations around the 17th year of the Reiwa era, and the budget for fiscal year 4 includes 85.8 billion yen for development.

A high-ranking official of the ministry said, "The joint development with non-U.S. countries is unprecedented and epoch-making."


There was a rumor that Japanese engineers didn't like the participation of Lockheed Martin, despite being favored by politicians. So since last year, there have been predictions that the final contract with Lockheed Martin will be canceled, and it seems actually come true.
There are some massive undercurrents lurking beneath this statement. Geopolitical and frankly no one has really dug into the consequences.
 

Hood

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I have to say, was not expecting that.
The temptations to merge this, either partially, or wholly, into Tempest must be growing to some extent. Either way the symbiosis will benefit both programmes I think.

And if LM is devoting its efforts to NGAD will they really be that worried about less work on someone else's fighter?
 

Flyaway

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I have to say, was not expecting that.
The temptations to merge this, either partially, or wholly, into Tempest must be growing to some extent. Either way the symbiosis will benefit both programmes I think.

And if LM is devoting its efforts to NGAD will they really be that worried about less work on someone else's fighter?
But doesn’t this aircraft and Tempest have rather different proposed roles to fulfil?
 

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You could've said the same about EFA and ACX, and yet... The jobs aspect tends to override the alignment, unfortunately - small nuances in operational requirements are liable to get deliberately blown out of all proportion to secure or protect work share.
 

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IMOHO this is the perfect blend. The long range/high loiter time is a similar requirement for both air forces. And that impacts airframe design the most.
Don't forget that the British industry was able to articulate its too often underrated aircraft industry around two very different design (Typhoon and Gripen prequel).
 
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apparition13

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There are some massive undercurrents lurking beneath this statement. Geopolitical and frankly no one has really dug into the consequences.
I don't think there is anything geopolitical about saying you don't want to work with Lockheed. I wouldn't. Late products, massive cost overruns, and "that's proprietary" at every turn are signals to partner with someone else.
 

TomcatViP

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Really?! The best fighter in the world (aside of F-22) being also the cheapest is a strong stone in the camp of a diverging opinion.
 

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