TOKYO, (BM) – The Japanese Ministry of Defense is planning significant investments in its air force. According to Junnosuke Kobara, author of the Japanese online publication Nikkei Asia, the Land of the Rising Sun is beginning to develop unmanned attack fighter. The Japanese fighter should be ready by the end of the current decade and be used by the Japanese military in 2035.
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Junnosuke Kobara says Japan decided on a changing methodology for waging war, integrating new technologies into weapons and China’s “big” neighbor. According to the author, Tokyo must have an alternative to Beijing’s air response, as the Chinese People’s Liberation Army has at least 1,000 fourth-generation fighters. They are all capable of reaching supersonic speeds. Kobara recalls that Japan currently has three times fewer fighters than China. BulgarianMilitary.com reminds you that China is presently rapidly developing fifth-generation fighters as well.
What is the idea of the Japanese Ministry of Defense?
According to Kobara, several Japanese companies are already “involved” in the process of developing an unmanned attack fighter. These are Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Mitsubishi Electric, and Subaru. The first two companies will establish a system that will allow autonomous control of a squadron of attacking drones—i.e., work related to the exchange of data between fighters. Subaru will work in the field of remote control of fighters and flight control.
According to information from the Ministry of Defense of Japan, the country will have three stages, during which it will introduce unmanned fighters. In the first phase, the Japanese Air Force will operate remote-controlled fighters. The second stage will focus on the command and control of a swarm of unmanned aerial vehicles from a single guided fighter, and the third stage will be a whole squadron of unmanned attack fighters.
Japan will invest approximately $ 30 million in developing autonomous fighter jets alone and developing an artificial intelligence system. According to Kobara, the prototype flight tests should be conducted in the middle of this decade (2024-2025).
The Land of the Rising Sun hopes that an unmanned attack fighter is a next step in strengthening its defense forces. Financiers and military experts believe that this fighter will have significantly lower costs than standard fighters. The main reasons are the lack of a cockpit, the reduction in size, and the fighter’s autonomous operation.
What are other countries doing in this area?
Japan is not the first country to develop such a fighter or is already developing such a fighter. We can say that Japan is slightly behind some significant players, which are currently the United States, Britain, China, Australia, and even Russia.
China is working hard in this area. Some sources claim that Beijing is working hard to create artificial intelligence to be integrated into the machines. Japan even has a history with a drone of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, when in 2017 such a device entered the airspace of Japan, around the Senkaku Islands.
Perhaps the United States is the most advanced in the field of drones. We remind you that in 2019 the first tests of such an aircraft were already conducted. Trials expect to continue in the middle of this year but the aircraft’s autonomous mode. According to preliminary information, the American fighter will carry up to two small bombs but will be fully capable of air combat and ground attacks.
Next years, around the middle of this decade, Britain and Australia are also expected to offer a similar alternative to an attacking fighter. According to Kobara, Japan could partner with companies from the United States and the United Kingdom on the project.
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