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By Arie Egozi
Japan has decided to develop a new fighter aircraft, after it had rejected offers from the leading aircraft manufacturers in the US. Is this an opportunity for Israeli companies such as IAI to take part in such a development program?
I think it is.
The Japanese are aware of what the Israeli defense industry has to offer in the field of modern systems for fighter aircrafts.
Someone has to make the initiative and offer Japan some sort of cooperation.
Such move will require creativity and daring.
Israel has plenty to offer to such a project of an advanced fighter jet. The opportunity should not be missed out.
According to defenseworld.net, Japan will develop a new aircraft to succeed its F-2 fighter after rejecting proposals Lockheed Martin, Boeing and BAE System to supply new jets.
The Japanese government has sought bids from Lockheed Martin for its F-22, Boeing for its F-15, and BAE Systems for its Eurofighter Typhoon. All three failed to meet the cost and technical parameters set out in the procurement program, Mainichi Shimbun quoted unnamed MoD officials.
The new fighter jet development project will be part of the next five-year mid-term defense program to be drawn up at the end of the year. The new jet could be a joint development program with foreign companies with Japanese companies developing the engine and some other main components while a second option calls for the jet to be fully developed domestically.
Rejecting the F-22 proposal, the source said, “no clear explanation was given about the possibility of the United States government lifting the export ban on the aircraft.”
Japan’s government is also exploring the possibility of teaming up with British or German-French partners who are looking at developing fifth generation fighters but is unsure if their respective projects will meet its F-2 replacement deadline.
Japan is part of the F-35 program and has signed up to buy 42 F-35A aircraft. While four have been built in the US, the remaining 38 are slated for assembly in Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) in Nayoga Japan.
Arie Egozi, iHLS Editor-in-Chief