Japan To Collaborate With UK, Italy To Develop Next-Generation Fighter Jet
The Mitsubishi F-X fighter jet will replace Japan's ageing F-2 fleet, which was previously developed in collaboration with the United States
Japan announced on Friday that it would collaborate with the United Kingdom and Italy to develop its next-generation fighter jet as Tokyo seeks to broaden defence cooperation beyond its traditional ally, the US.
The Mitsubishi F-X fighter jet will replace Japan's ageing F-2 fleet, which was previously developed in collaboration with the United States.
The F-X from Japan and the Tempest, a successor to the Eurofighter Typhoon from the United Kingdom, will be combined to form the next-generation combat aircraft, which will be deployed in 2035.
The agreement will provide Japan with greater support in countering China's growing assertiveness while allowing Britain to expand its presence in the Indo-Pacific region.
The announcement of the fighter jets came four days after Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced spending targets aimed at strengthening Japan's military capability, including a significant increase in defence spending over the next five years. To meet the five-year spending total of USD 316 billion, the government will need to increase defence spending by USD 30 billion per year. A quarter of that will be paid for by tax increases.
The revised national security strategy, which is expected to be released later this month, will allow the country to conduct pre-emptive strikes and deploy long-range missiles. This represents a significant and contentious departure from Japan's self-defence-only defence policy adopted following its defeat in World War II in 1945.
To counter growing Chinese and North Korean threats, Japan has expanded its defence partnerships with Indo-Pacific countries such as Australia, Southeast Asian countries and Europe.
Later Friday, Japan and Australia were to hold 2+2 security talks in Tokyo between their foreign and defence ministers to discuss further deepening military ties, following the signing of a new bilateral security agreement in October by Kishida and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. It addresses military, intelligence and cybersecurity cooperation in the context of China's growing assertiveness.