UK and Japan build joint next-gen fighter, Tempest and FX merge

LONDON ($1=0.85 British Pounds) — The UK and Japan are close to an agreement to merge their Tempest and FX fighter programs as the two sides seek to agree on a new joint project by the end of the year.

UK, Japan make a joint next-gen fighter, Tempest and FX merge
Photo credit: British MoD

Japan’s FX and Britain’s next-generation fighter jet programs, dubbed the Tempest, are about to merge. According to information obtained by Reuters, the two sides aim to combine these projects and agree on a new project by the end of the year.

It is the first time that Japan has sought a partner outside the US for a major military program, and it will be the first major collaboration between Tokyo and London. “This is a project that will cost tens of billions of dollars, split equally between Japan and the UK,” one of the sources familiar with the plan told Reuters.

Japan’s FX program is managed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries [MHI], while the UK’s Tempest program is managed by BAE Systems. Last year, BulgarianMilitary.com announced that British and Japanese companies were collaborating on the development of some Tempest components. On the other hand, England and Japan decided to collaborate on the Tempest engine.

Japan begins to develop a new own stealth fighter jet
Photo credit: Getty Images / AFP

British company BAE Systems is also supporting Turkey’s next-generation fighter program, the National Combat Aircraft [TF-X]. Currently, approximately 100 BAE Systems engineers work directly at TAI’s main facility in Ankara. On the other hand, another British company, Rolls-Royce, is very keen to develop the original MMU TF-X engine. Rolls-Royce works with Turkey’s Kale Group.

Tempest program

The Tempest, a 6th generation combat aircraft whose development activities continue in partnership with BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce, MBDA and Leonardo, and the British Government, was unveiled for the first time at 2018 Farnborough Airshow.

The jet, which is scheduled to enter service in 2035, aims to make the UK a world power in military aircraft. In this context, British defense industry companies, engines, stealth design, avionics systems, weapon systems, etc. for the 6th generation combat aircraft continue to work to develop new technologies in the areas.

Still unbuilt, Tempest is losing ground to the F-35
Photo credit: Wikipedia

However, the UK made it clear that although it had sufficient technical and engineering capabilities to design and build the Tempest, the project could not be completed for economic reasons without international partners to support the development and procurement of the aircraft.

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