Japan’s 6th-Gen ‘Godzilla’ Fighter to Get Japanese Missiles

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The anticipated Japanese 6th-gen fighter dubbed “Godzilla” may get a domestic air-to-air missile, developed by Japan, Italy, and the UK.

A study conducted by Japan and Britain found that an air-to-air missile developed in Japan would provide the best performance at a lower cost than the European “Meteor” air-to-air missile. Japan reportedly may consider in the future equipping the fighter with missiles used by Britain and Italy to improve their capabilities.

The new Japanese fighter, officially called the F-X or F-3 aircraft, was launched in December of 2022 and has been deemed necessary to keep up with and surpass the air capabilities of China and Russia, the neighboring countries.

According to Interesting Engineering, this program aims to equip the new fighter with interoperability functions that facilitate joint operations with allied forces. It will also be able to share data with friendly aircraft, making operations safer and simpler.

Keeping with the general theme of the program, the new missile plans to outsource components like infrared sensors, lightweight airframes, and information systems to its supply chain, with the hope of working with domestic companies. Tokyo aims to develop and improve its domestic industrial abilities, which seems to be a growing phenomenon, exhibited recently in India as well.

Kyoto News reports that Japan intends to replace around 90 aging F-2 fighters that will start retiring in 2035 with the new fighter jets, and a total of 240 Eurofighter jets in Britain and Italy are also scheduled to be replaced. Nevertheless, options for imported weapons systems are still open, like the “Meteor” missile that seems to be a good “backup” alternative to a Japanese-made air-to-air missile.