Japan is reportedly finalizing its policy of co-developing the jet engine of its future FX fighter with the UK.
Earlier it was reported that in the final stages of negotiations with Japanese IHI Corp. and the British company Rolls-Royce are collaborating on an engine for the Air Self-Defense Force’s next generation fighter aircraft.
Now Japan’s Yomiuri News Reports that the government would like a framework for cooperation to be established before March next year. The report went on to claim that the UK would assist Japan in developing the jet engine air intake duct, as well as the portion around the exhaust duct, as it is closely related to the performance of the fighter.
Government officials have reportedly stated that a prototype will be built from 2026, with flight tests scheduled to begin in the 2030s, as per Yomiuri.
In June 2021, the Japanese news agency Asahi published quoted a Japanese government official said, “Co-development of engines is likely to lead to mass production. It will pave the way for future cost reductions and exports. “
The UK and Japan are stepping up defense cooperation, such as joint training, and looking to deepen their relationship on engine development, he added.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., which is responsible for the aircraft design and systems development for the new jet, receives technical support from Lockheed Martin, the US company behind the state-of-the-art stealth fighter F-35.
The government intends to use Japanese, British and American technologies in developing the jet that will replace the F-2 fighter. Lockheed Martin Corp. from the US has already been selected to work on FX’s stealth technology.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) is also said to be in talks with Northrop Grumman and BAE for assistance in developing sensor fusion data linking and developing electronic warfare technologies from the latter. The Japanese companies involved in the project are IHI Corporation, Toshiba, Fujitsu, Subaru and Mitsubishi Electric.
The UK and Japan are working together to develop the engine for the new Japanese stealth fighter FX.https://t.co/wATxvHd69Y
– UK Defense Journal (@UKDefJournal) August 5, 2021
IHI Corporation has tested the XF9-1 low-bypass turbofan engines, which incorporate novel high-strength lightweight components that represent a breakthrough in metallurgical research and enable the engine to withstand temperatures of up to 1,800 degrees Celsius.
The engine for the P-1 sea patrol aircraft of the Maritime Self-Defense Force was also on developed from the same company.
The F-2 aircraft will be replaced by the next generation fighter aircraft, which are slated to be introduced in the mid-2030s. The task, however, was to create a framework for international cooperation to reduce development costs and strengthen capabilities.
The FX program
The next generation F-3 or FX is Japan’s first domestically developed stealth fighter and will replace the Mitsubishi F-2. It will be a twin-engine fighter that can carry six internal weapons. As previously reported by The Eurasian Times, the fighter jet will complement the lighter F-35 jets.
The F-3 is designed to bridge the gap between China and Russia, both of which have produced and operated advanced aircraft in the region. China, according to current Estimates of the Japanese Ministry of Defense has around 1,000 “fourth generation” fighters.
On October 30, Tokyo announced that the sixth generation foreign exchange program was a top priority for then Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and his cabinet. Production will begin in 2031, with deployment in 2035.
– Janes (@JanesINTEL) June 22, 2021
The control surfaces of the FX are controlled electronically. Although space within the airframe will be limited in order to maintain a low radar profile, traditional hydraulic systems are used sparingly.
It will also have a fiber optic flight control system (sometimes known as a “fly-by-light” system) and serpentine air inlets to lower the radar cross section and heat signature in flight. Heat shields and an integrated composite structure made of composite materials should also be included in the FX.
One of the reasons for the program is the need for an aircraft that can carry more weapons than the Japanese F-35s, considering that China and Russia are already ahead in this regard.
Six missiles can be transported in the internal bays of the Russian stealth fighter Su-57 and Chinese J-20. Another Lockheed Martin aircraft, the US F-22 Raptor, can carry eight missiles.
UK-Japan Defense Partnership
As before reported by EurAsian Times, Japan could be the next partner in the UK-Swedish-Italian FCAS program being built by BAE, Saab and Leonardo. By 2035, the UK-led Tempest program hopes to have a core hunter and a number of additional technologies on the ground.
“We have had negotiations, discussions and some experimental projects,” said Air Commodore Johnny Moreton, the UK’s program director. Nothing is overly complicated right now. We’re currently doing a joint engine viability study with Japan, which is pretty exciting.
In addition, Great Britain and Japan also work together to build an advanced version of a long-range air-to-air missile. In addition, Rolls-Royce did suggested that the FX and Tempest programs, which are on fairly parallel timelines, can work together in developing a single engine type.
The British and Japanese governments previously called an ambitious future cooperation project ‘Jaguar’ on February 2nd, which Tokyo 2018 briefly discussed in Japanese text. According to the official description, it is a universal radio frequency (HF) system.
It is most likely for the Japanese FX and UK led Tempest combat programs. In addition, Japan and the UK announced in September that they were working together on powerful radar technology.
Although Rolls-Royce is one of the largest engine manufacturers in the world, the company could also learn from Japan’s program. Japan was Focus on the discovery of materials that can withstand extremely high temperatures, which would improve efficiency, and downsizing the diameter of a combat engine to reduce drag in preparation for the FX program.