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

FighterJock

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Regarding this, Defense Minister Kishi said at a press conference after the Cabinet meeting that "three foreign companies have offered to support the coordination of development."

The three companies offered were Boeing, Lockheed Martin in the United States, and BAE Systems in the United Kingdom.

The Ministry of Defense plans to narrow down the companies that will receive support from these three companies, decide on a development framework by the end of the year, and proceed with the development toward the start of mass production in 2031.


Interesting to see that Northrop Grumman failed to make the cut for the F-3, though it is good to see BAE Systems still represented.
 

elmayerle

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Looks somewhat like a mix of NG F-23A and MDC/NG/BAe JSF-proposal

I really loved those MDC/NG designs :( I wish it could have been chosen as one of the two finalists for JSF

Same here helmutkohl. To this day I do not know why they picked the Boeing X-32 over the McDonnell Douglas/Northrop design. :(
Because McDonnell Douglas, when their gas-driven fan system didn't work out, went with a separate lift engine and violated the customer requirements of only one engine. If they had switched to the same shaft-driven lift fan concept that LM-Aero used, they likely would have had a better chance.

IMHO, they and LM-Aero had the best aerodynamic designs.
 

red admiral

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Interesting to see that Northrop Grumman failed to make the cut for the F-3, though it is good to see BAE Systems still represented.
Did you see anything ever saying that NG had expressed an interest? I don't think i did.
 

FighterJock

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Interesting to see that Northrop Grumman failed to make the cut for the F-3, though it is good to see BAE Systems still represented.
Did you see anything ever saying that NG had expressed an interest? I don't think i did.

For a while we did see those designs that were reminiscent of the YF-23 design so I automatically thought that Northrop was helping out (at least in the background) with the designing of the F-3.
 

helmutkohl

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Interesting to see that Northrop Grumman failed to make the cut for the F-3, though it is good to see BAE Systems still represented.
Did you see anything ever saying that NG had expressed an interest? I don't think i did.

For a while we did see those designs that were reminiscent of the YF-23 design so I automatically thought that Northrop was helping out (at least in the background) with the designing of the F-3.

what you saw was most likely 24DMU
but since then they went to other, more Lockmart style designs.
but like many I was an YF-23 fan and wished 24DMU became real due to how similar they looked
9fa73e8e.png
 

red admiral

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I think its a bit of a stretch to say that a configuration with V tails means a link to Northrop. I mean no one's saying that about the French NGF mockup from last year.

I don't remember seeing NG mentioned in any of the news stories around this; LM, Boeing, BAES, Airbus yes but thats it.

I have got to wonder what "support" Japan actually wants from the foreign companies.
 

FighterJock

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Interesting to see that Northrop Grumman failed to make the cut for the F-3, though it is good to see BAE Systems still represented.
Did you see anything ever saying that NG had expressed an interest? I don't think i did.

For a while we did see those designs that were reminiscent of the YF-23 design so I automatically thought that Northrop was helping out (at least in the background) with the designing of the F-3.

what you saw was most likely 24DMU
but since then they went to other, more Lockmart style designs.
but like many I was an YF-23 fan and wished 24DMU became real due to how similar they looked
9fa73e8e.png

It was the 24DMU that I saw helmutkohl, obviously it was too advanced for what the Japanese were looking for in a stealthy fighter and went down the Lockheed design route instead.
 

TomS

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I don't remember seeing NG mentioned in any of the news stories around this; LM, Boeing, BAES, Airbus yes but thats it.

Lots of reporting from the July 2018 timeframe. And then it mostly disappears.

 

Ares

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I think its a bit of a stretch to say that a configuration with V tails means a link to Northrop. I mean no one's saying that about the French NGF mockup from last year.

I don't remember seeing NG mentioned in any of the news stories around this; LM, Boeing, BAES, Airbus yes but thats it.

I have got to wonder what "support" Japan actually wants from the foreign companies.

Mostly technical support on the integration of major parts and software shenanigan which are Japan's weaknesses, plus, securing interoperability with the US and NATO forces. Some parts and technologies may jointly be developed to have commonality with the US or UK's next-gen fighter.
 

Ares

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Oh, this is unexpected. Never thought LM and NG would team-up.



Japan’s Acquisition, Technology & Logistics Agency (ATLA) confirms that the RFI was issued on 16 September, with seven companies showing initial interest. Only BAE, Boeing, and Lockheed replied prior to the RFI’s deadline – the Lockheed bid also involves Northrop Grumman.
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Lockheed Martin has responded to Japan’s F-X Request for Information (RFI) with Northrop Grumman,” says the company. “Our comprehensive RFI response outlines potential areas of development support and participation that could significantly reduce F-X development costs and schedule by leveraging close industry cooperation with Japan’s F-X integrator, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), and ensuring indigenous design and sovereignty.”

 
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TomcatViP

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Amazing that no one in Europe bothered to reply despite schedule and objectives being quite similar... A lost opportunity to track down cost?
 

kaiserd

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Amazing that no one in Europe bothered to reply despite schedule and objectives being quite similar... A lost opportunity to track down cost?
The UK is in Europe last I checked...
Last time I queried that there was no shortage of those that didn’t see it that way.
Japan won’t be worried about any of that when they almost certainly opt for cooperation with the US.
 

red admiral

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Also kinda obvious that the EU isn't the same as Europe despite some trying to conflate the two.

I'm not surprised Airbus etc weren't that interested as a key Japanese requirement is interoperability with US systems e.g. F-35-MADL etc. Whereas SCAF effort is deliberately trying to avoid being closely interoperable (can obviously still do things at tactics, mission level)
 

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Some information came from an online forum held by the International Security Industry Council of Japan;

Takayoshi Yamazaki(retired Lt.Gen of JASDF, former Director-General of the Department of Air Systems Development) said F-X will be larger scale than the F-22, including the number of missiles loaded. Combat action radius will also be much wider than the F-22 thanks to its large wings. It will play a key role in IAMD and will have AWACS and BMD capabilities as well.(It is likely to become the largest single seat fighter in the world alongside USAF's NGAD)

As for the network, the Ministry of Defense recognizes that interoperability with the US is the most important. And it will have a multi-domain network that can integrate all of the systems on not only air but land and sea. As for the expandability, cooperation with unmanned aircraft and laser weapon will be introduced, and such large aircraft has the advantage to operate these future features.


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View: https://twitter.com/Hi_yukkuri/status/1326447113824210944


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* not an official image
 
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Trident

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This makes it quite clear that airframe commonality with anything BAE has in mind for UK requirements is very unlikely. I'd been wondering about that, since great persistence has figured consistently and prominently in Japanese official information on this project for several years, and obviously they are standing their ground.

EDIT: "Must equip ASM-3" - hmmm... internally? That alone would mean a huge fighter!
 

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94 Fighters. I would expect F3 would take F-15's role too. But, guess they're ready for the price tag for such number.
 

TomcatViP

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@Trident : I very much think that the synergies with UK requirements does not preclude large business jet size. UK military posture post EU centric addiction will spread their reach at a scale similar to UK economical influence. That will involve a lot of oversea missions with long transoceanics capabilities. Just imagine a stronger posture with China and the basing then left available to trim down tensions.

Last but not least FACAS can be a double headed beast (or more accurately a double bodied one).

You have to think that with such large fighters (such as what promise to be most serious 6th Gen), every systems will be new: larger fuel pumps, larger actuator, new trimmed down paneling, bulking, new designed light weight spars... The potential industrial benefits are huges and it would be folly to keep your contractors out of this race.
 
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Hood

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It's hard to gauge whether the UK is still involved on the airframe side; "Japan-UK Joint Study - Mar 2017 - TBC" pre-dates the Japan-US study group by two years but its clear that subsequent efforts are far closer linked to the Japan-US study group. TBC could mean the UK study is currently still ongoing and not yet terminated or simply that the date for its winding up is unclear. Its possible the UK might be involved in the radar and AAM aspects, but probably not in the airframe or engines.
This does sound like a larger fighter than Tempest, but then Tempest is still in its early design days so its not impossible that it might grow in size.
 

kaiserd

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Convergence with concurrent US requirements and developments would appear to make technology sharing and partnership with the US a no-brainer for Japan re: their next generation fighter aircraft. And that’s before wider political and economic considerations that similarly would overwhelmingly favour the US as partner for Japan.
I can see why the UK would want Japan as a partner to help make the Tempest a reality. However I see little to no reason why Japan would select the UK and not the US, or why anyone would think there was any realistic likelihood that they would do so.
And suggestions that UK requirements re: Tempest would be significantly influenced by expedition warfare against mainland China type- scenarios are even more far-fetched.
 

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Rolls Royce expresses interest on joint development of common engine for UK and Japan's future fighters.
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In an interview with Nikkei by the 16th, the Head of Defense at Rolls-Royce, a major British aviation engine maker, expressed his willingness to develop and research the engine of the next fighter jet, which the Japanese government aims to deploy in 2035, saying, "We want to be actively involved as Rolls Royce, and as Britain. The British government is aiming to deploy its next fighter jet at the same time, and the cost of mass production through cooperation between Japan and Britain will be reduced."

Alexander Zino, Director of Defense Business Department and Development of Future Programs, responded to the interview. Regarding the development of the next fighter jet to replace Japan's F2 fighter jet, he said, "We hope to jointly develop one engine in Japan and Britain and use it as a driving source for both Japan's and Britain's. "As for the engine for the next fighter jet, IHI has already developed a prototype in Japan and is considering joint development and research.

Britain has a technology development program called "Tempest" for next-generation fighter jets, but it does not presume its own development. Its purpose is to share development costs and produce mass production effects with Japan and European countries, which have the similar development plans at the same time.



Well, UK recently helped Japan on certification process of military jet engine, so maybe this will also happen too?
 
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Ares

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Japan selected LM/NG consortium as technical assistance partner.

Lockheed was chosen because of development achievements and the alliance between Japan and the United States. It has developed F-22 and F-35, which are considered the world's best, and has a reputation for stealth technology.

Cooperate with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries mainly in terms of airframe design and system integration.

At the time of development, emphasis will be placed on interoperability between Japan and the United States. In preparation for an emergency, the next fighter will connect data with the US military's mainstay F22 and F35, making it easier to jointly operation between.

Lockheed collaborated with Northrop Grumman on the proposal to Japan. Northrop is strong in "data links" and sensors that connect information with multiple fighters. Teaming up with Lockheed also has the advantage of making it easier to receive technical assistance from Northrop.

Individual components will also explore collaboration with British companies that are building partnerships with Japan in defense technology research. BAE has strengths in electronic warfare technology that uses electromagnetic waves to prevent opponents from attacking.

Behind the development of the next fighter aircraft led by Japan is the speculation that it will lead to innovation of domestic companies and development of new industries.

 
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TomcatViP

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Let's be honest, if LM is in charge of contractors management with Northrop mentioned as data link integrator, it can only means that all the 35/22 team is in (Bae...).
Naming LM, among all other advantages, would seems as the easiest path to stand clear of any future litigation...
I am sure the Brits would have been re-assured to have their name on the front wall but at the end that's the money that matters.
 

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Hiring LM sounds like they are determined to get a modernised F-22 alike even if they have to build it themselves.
 

kaiserd

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Not sure it’s 100 percent confirmed yet but it’s still significant if deeply unsurprising news.

 

stealthflanker

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I guess this time around Japan will try to do better in not repeating the case of F-2...where the end result was entirely different than what they were intended to be.

They have the engine, manufacturing advanced materials and avionics. So US may not necessarily able to "push" Japan to make "just an improved F-22's"
 

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Let's be honest, if LM is in charge of contractors management with Northrop mentioned as data link integrator, it can only means that all the 35/22 team is in (Bae...).
Naming LM, among all other advantages, would seems as the easiest path to stand clear of any future litigation...
I am sure the Brits would have been re-assured to have their name on the front wall but at the end that's the money that matters.
US and UK BAE are completely different entities, unfortunately this is usually lost on the lay reporting.
 

aonestudio

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The MoD pointed out that Lockheed Martin is still officially a “partner candidate” as MHI has yet to finalise the terms of a deal with the US company.

Meanwhile, Tokyo said it will continue to seek partners to work on individual parts and sub-systems for the aircraft, including the engine and avionics. In this context the MoD said it will continue to explore possibilities to co-operate with the United Kingdom and the United States.
 

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FighterJock

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Interesting news about the funding of the F-X aircraft helmutkohl, as well as funding other aircraft. I wonder what the other aircraft could be? Unmanned X-47 type stealthy Drones?
 

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more on Japan's FX and other aircraft budget

Japan Military Aircraft Acquisitions
Aircraft typeRoleFY2020*FY2021**
Bell Subaru UH-2Utility transport07
Boeing Subaru CH-47JAUtility transport30
Kawasaki P-1Maritime Patrol33
Shinmaywa US-2Long-range rescue01
Sikorsky SH-60KMaritime Patrol Helicopter07
Lockheed Martin F-35AMulti-role fighter34
Lockheed Martin F-35BMulti-role fighter62
Kawasaki C-2Strategic transport01
Boeing KC-46ATanker/Transport40
Sikorsky UH-60JRescue helicopter35
*1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020
**1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022
 

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Japan's Defense Ministry plans to introduce fighter drones in three stages -- first those that are remote controlled, then "teaming" operations where one manned plane would control several drones, and ultimately for use in completely unmanned and autonomous squadrons. Autonomous weapons require advanced machine-learning capabilities, and international rules have yet to catch up to the technology. The ministry plans to focus on teaming operations first for its 2035 goal, set to coincide with the deployment of Japan's next-generation manned fighters.

Japanese companies have already been tasked with researching the necessary technologies. Subaru will be in charge of developing remote and flight control capabilities, while Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Mitsubishi Electric will work on an instantaneous information-sharing system between multiple aircraft. The ministry's Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Agency is also planning out artificial intelligence technology for the drones.

Japanese players could partner with U.S. and British companies as well.

The ministry will invest 2.5 billion yen ($24.3 million) into remote and flight control technology, and another 200 million yen into AI technology. It aims to conduct a flight test with a small prototype around fiscal 2024, when the research phase is expected to wrap up, and start designing the final product as early as fiscal 2025. The final fighter drones could be equipped with detection and missile capabilities.
Concept image published on the original Japanese text.

6VF1xTe.png
 

helmutkohl

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translation

several Japanese companies has been established with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, the main developer of the next-generation fighter jet, which will be the successor to the Air Self-Defense Force's F2 fighter jet. Engineers from Kawasaki Heavy Industries, IHI and other companies are gradually gathering at the company's plant in Aichi Prefecture, and the number of engineers is expected to eventually reach 500. The company is expected to eventually employ about 500 people. This marks the start of a "Japan-led" development effort, which the government is promoting to foster the defense industry. A number of government officials revealed this on November 11.
 The government is in talks to receive technical assistance from Lockheed Martin of the U.S. and plans to cooperate with British companies in each field. The aim is to share information among the Japanese companies before the U.S. and U.K. officially enter the market and the design work of the aircraft starts in earnest.
 

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translation

several Japanese companies has been established with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, the main developer of the next-generation fighter jet, which will be the successor to the Air Self-Defense Force's F2 fighter jet. Engineers from Kawasaki Heavy Industries, IHI and other companies are gradually gathering at the company's plant in Aichi Prefecture, and the number of engineers is expected to eventually reach 500. The company is expected to eventually employ about 500 people. This marks the start of a "Japan-led" development effort, which the government is promoting to foster the defense industry. A number of government officials revealed this on November 11.
 The government is in talks to receive technical assistance from Lockheed Martin of the U.S. and plans to cooperate with British companies in each field. The aim is to share information among the Japanese companies before the U.S. and U.K. officially enter the market and the design work of the aircraft starts in earnest.

I wonder what area of technical assistance they want from the U.K.? Avionics/radar? It would be interesting to see how this all works out for the F-3 fighter.
 

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