BAE Systems Outlines Support Proposal to Japan’s F-X Fighter Program

BAE Systems has responded to a Request for Information (RFI) from the Japanese Ministry of Defence (JMOD), proposing a package of integration support to Japan’s F-X next generation fighter development program.

The response to the RFI, which was issued by the JMOD’s Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Agency  (ATLA), outlines technical capabilities across a range of key areas, which BAE Systems can offer into supporting development of the F-X program.

“We firmly believe that we can add significant value to the F-X programme. We look forward to further progressing our discussions and we are honoured to have the opportunity to collaborate with Japan on this programme,” said Andy Latham, Campaign Delivery Director – Japan, for BAE Systems’ Air business.

“We have decades of experience of partnering with nations around the world to deliver sovereign capability. Our track record of collaborating on complex combat aircraft programmes has provided us with insight and understanding of the likely challenges and the range of capabilities, technologies and relationships required to successfully deliver the next generation of such programmes. ,” said Andy Latham, Campaign Delivery Director – Japan, for BAE Systems’ Air business.”

BAE Systems and its predecessor companies have worked with the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) and international partner nations over the past 60 years on the development of increasingly complex programmes such as Jaguar, Harrier, Tornado, Eurofighter Typhoon and F-35.

Selection on MHI as Prime Contractor for F-X Program:

Last month, Japan selected Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) as a prime contractor for the F-X program. The selection of MHI for the F-X project is not a surprise as it is the only Japanese company with the capability to build a fighter aircraft, and no other company bid for the contract.

Mitsubishi will now decide on sub-contractors for the project, including avionics and engine manufacturers. Japan will also reportedly select an overseas partner by the end of this year for collaboration on advanced technologies, including stealth technology which is a main requirement for the program.

Foreign firms that have expressed interest in joining the F-X project include American companies Lockheed Martin which manufactures the F-35 Lighting II and F-22 Raptor stealth fighter jets, Boeing which builds the F/A-18 Super Hornet jets, and Northrop Grumman which has the experience of developing the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber, and British companies BAE Systems, which is developing Tempest next-generation fighter aircraft, and jet engine maker Rolls Royce.

The new F-X (unofficially F-3) stealth fighter jet will replace Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF)’s Mitsubishi F-2 fighter jets which are due to be retired around 2035.. The F-2 is derived from the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon, and manufactured by MHI and Lockheed Martin with a 60/40 split in manufacturing between Japan and the United States.

The Defense Ministry has requested 58.7 billion yen ($556 million) in the 2021 budget for research into developing the aircraft. An additional $113.6 million was requested for R&D of fighter subsystems, such as radars and mission systems integration.

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