politics

Britain, Japan said to be looking to merge Tempest and F-X fighter programs

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By Tim Kelly, Nobuhiro Kubo, Paul Sandle and Tim Hepher

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Personally, I don't think it is a good idea to share any military technology with Japan. Japan has a history of using technology against the very nations which supply it.

-47 ( +8 / -55 )

This is actually a terrible news for the future of Japan's indigenous military aviation, as this means Japan playing a second fiddle to and joining in as the junior partner of more experienced BAE and Rolls-Royce.

Even if Japan somehow manages to obtain equal project work share as UK, it can't exceed more than 30~35% because of two additional partners Sweden and Italy. In other word, Japan will have to import 60~65% of resulting jet's component and local industrial capability for those parts will be lost forever.

This news is released just 3 days ahead of Korea's KF-21's maiden flight, which currently has 65% local content and the Koreans intend to increase the domestic content to 80% over the next 10 years. How? Because this jet was designed in Korea, unlike Japan's Tempest which will be primarily engineered in UK with all the experience and knowledge staying there.

So the three military powers of our time will be the US, China, and Korea.

-35 ( +8 / -43 )

A small correction. 65~70% of Japan's Tempest components will have to be imported under the workshare split between four partner nations(UK, Sweden, Italy, and Japan).

This is hardly better than F-15J license production in Japan. Even the F-2 had 60% Japanese domestic content. But half of F-2's Japanese suppliers quit the defense business, meaning Japan is currently incapable of supplying more than 30~35% of a modern combat jet anyway.

-27 ( +6 / -33 )

As far as I know, Japan together with United States and Russia are the only countries capable of manufacturing jet engines with more than 15 tons of thrust.

I don't think the British are naive to sign an agreement that isn't a good deal for England.

14 ( +20 / -6 )

Alan HarrisonToday  06:40 am JST

Personally, I don't think it is a good idea to share any military technology with Japan. Japan has a history of using technology against the very nations which supply it.

Give us an example in the last 77 years.

17 ( +28 / -11 )

South Korea is certainly a military arms and equpiment manufacturer. And has sold to some SE Asian countries. But SK is not looked upon as being in the same class as Japan by the US and European nations.

This article has nothing to do with South Korea.

15 ( +26 / -11 )

@Udondashi

Japan together with United States and Russia are the only countries capable of manufacturing jet engines with more than 15 tons of thrust.

Japan, no. UK and China, yes.

UK : UltraFan and Trent

China : WS-20 engine on Y-20 cargo aircraft is rated 13 ~ 16 tons.

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/37939/chinas-y-20-transport-appears-to-be-finally-flying-with-indigenous-jet-engines

-22 ( +6 / -28 )

Ossan,They can always bring back the zero,LG make some horrible products,people have bought thousands refrigerator,for them to fail within a year

7 ( +17 / -10 )

Harrier was the only jet,that the US ever bought from England

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Give us an example in the last 77 years.

Toshiba apologizes for sale of submarine technology

https://www.upi.com/Archives/1987/07/20/Toshiba-apologizes-to-nation-for-sale-of-submarine-technology/8735553752000/

-8 ( +7 / -15 )

@OssanJapan

This article has nothing to do with South Korea.

Surely it has everything to do with Korea and Japan, as this announcement 3 days ahead of KF-21's July 19th maiden flight illustrates the decline of Japanese defense industry and the rise of Korean defense industry.

Korea now has TWO vertically integrated defense conglomerates manufacturing everything from AESA radars to ballistic missile defense system, fighter jets, submarines, and warships. Japan has no such defense contractor that has achieved such a large scale vertical integration and economy of scale. This is why arms industry is booming in Korea but in severe decline in Japan.

-14 ( +6 / -20 )

Yaral

The US also bought the English Electric Canberra jet bomber

15 ( +15 / -0 )

@Yrral

LG make some horrible products

This is a strange comment. LG makes world-class fridges, washers and driers, air-conditioners and consumer electronics, etc. It's Samsung whose consumer appliances are less than stellar with some reliability issues.

But if you are buying consumer appliances, then do buy LG. They will last decades. Heck, even Samsung employees buy LG appliances in secret.

-17 ( +4 / -21 )

JeffLeeToday  07:30 am JST

Give us an example in the last 77 years.

Toshiba apologizes for sale of submarine technology

That's a private company. Poster is talking about Japan as a country.

6 ( +16 / -10 )

New military tech is megabucks so collaboration can make sense. Being two island nations, the requirements for new military hardware may overlap.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

I wonder what exchange rate this will be paid for? Now japan is 139 to the dollar.

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

@commanteer

Well its not Facebook where everyone talks about themselves.

Can't expect an online news site forum discussion debate comments section to be full of all positive comments.

If you don't like it then why do you feed on the negative and come back for more ?

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

U S got a Stealth drone,the US rely on cruise missile,they have mini cruise missile,why risk a 100 million dollars airplane,these airplane just their to make other countries want to buy them

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Beautiful and Deadly.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Harrier was the only jet,that the US ever bought from England

No. Before the Harrier there was the B-57 Canberra, which was a US license produced version of the English Electric Canberra. The Harriers in US service were all produced by McDonnel Douglas. In fact the only reason the Harrier was built was the US Marines never gave up on it. The Brits for a time had abandoned the Harriers development and were set to abandon fixed wing naval aviation entirely but the US Marines kept the project going. Today the US Navy flies a version of the BAE Hawk as an advanced jet trainer. The US Army operated DeHavilland Caribous for a long time.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

If Japan wishes to play a significant role in the defense of rules based international order, it should develop its own domestically designed military aircraft, a modern version of the Mitsubishi Zero fighter.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

@Meiyouwenti

If Japan wishes to play a significant role in the defense of rules based international order, it should develop its own domestically designed military aircraft, a modern version of the Mitsubishi Zero fighter.

Bingo. Joining a multinational program is fine as long as you have at least one indigenous program with a 65% local content to sustain local industries. Joining a multinational program without your own contemporary indigenous parallel program means you are losing industrial capability for whatever the parts you are not supplying. And in a four-country multinational program like Tempest, the parts you are not supplying can be as much as 70~85%. This is fine for UK and Sweden because they got local programs to maintain local industrial capabilities, like Typhoon and Gripen. This isn't the case with Japan.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Britain could handle exports in Europe, while Japan would take care of the Asian market, another of the three sources said.

Had to laugh at that line.

Who in Europe would purchase from the ever reliable British?

Who in Asia has the money to splurge on fighter jets?

Now (as seen in Ukraine) fighters have almost become target practice for ultra accurate ground to air defense systems.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Good decision.

These next generation fighter jets will take the fight up to Japans enemies in the region in the coming decades as Japans military keeps rising. There is practically zero chance Japans enemies - Fascist Russia, totalitarian China and North Korea - can develop such new age fighter jet capability.

Furthermore, this collaboration should pave the way for Japan to - hopefully - join AUKUS and The Five Eyes military partnership. Win-win for Asia-Pacific.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

@garymalmgren

Who in Europe would purchase from the ever reliable British?

Sweden and Italy chose British Tempest over French-German FCAS. Spain is rumored to be looking to jump ship from FCAS to Tempest as well due to political disputes and infighting between France and Germany.

Who in Asia has the money to splurge on fighter jets?

This is the 6 million dollar question. Tempest even at full production is expected to cost $150 million/unit in today's dollar; basically no one in Asia can afford this jet. Worse, Japan marketed Tempest is going up against Korean KF-21, which will stay below $100 million even for Block 3 units thanks to Korea's requirement for 300+ jets for ROKAF alone and can reach break even point quicker.

So there is no buyer for Tempest in Asia except for possibly Singapore buying a couple dozen units, but Singapore requires that Japan provide secondary hosting service. In other word. Australia currently doesn't have any plans for new fighters beyond 75 F-35s already on order because of the $100 billion nuclear submarine program.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

NOW china has something to be worried about

0 ( +3 / -3 )

U S got a Stealth drone,the US rely on cruise missile,they have mini cruise missile,why risk a 100 million dollars airplane,these airplane just their to make other countries want to buy them

The range of the longest range air launched cruise missile is not great enough to reach all the targets in the US, Canada, Russia or China an enemy might wish to attack unless the launch aircraft flies well inside the defended airspace of the nation mentioned above being attacked to launch their weapons. Even with a stealthy long range cruise missile like JASSM-ER or JASSM-XR, if the launch aircraft stays offshore there are only so many targets that can be engaged. To take down an enemies air defense system, meaning the radars and missile systems, manned and unmanned aircraft working together are going to have to fly deep into enemy airspace. To drop big heavy penetrator warheads on deeply hardened targets means manned bombers flying far inside enemy airspace. The B-2 can deliver a pair of 15,000 kg bombs with precision. No missile can do that.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

NOW china has something to be worried about

They shouldnt wait for this program to be completed in 5-10 years to worry. Communist China should be very worried about Japans military capability right NOW.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Bingo. Joining a multinational program is fine as long as you have at least one indigenous program with a 65% local content to sustain local industries. Joining a multinational program without your own contemporary indigenous parallel program means you are losing industrial capability for whatever the parts you are not supplying. And in a four-country multinational program like Tempest, the parts you are not supplying can be as much as 70~85%. This is fine for UK and Sweden because they got local programs to maintain local industrial capabilities, like Typhoon and Gripen. This isn't the case with Japan.

Without joining a program such as this, Japan will take far longer to master all the technologies necessary to design, test and build a new 5th gen fighter. Japan could probably do it alone but it would take a lot more time and be prohibitively expensive. Look at the four partners involved. None of them alone are going to buy enough new, expensive, 5th gen stealth fighters for their own air force to make such a program economically viable to conduct individually As with any form of production, the more you build the lower the cost to produce each subsequent unit (learning curve theory), and the more you build the more units you can spread your development costs across. All four nations need industrial and development partners to share costs so the program is economically viable for them.

UK has already been involved in a 5th gen stealth fighter, the F-35. Same for Italy. Sweden and Japan haven't, though the Swedes have a long history of producing advanced combat jets on their own. Sweden and Japan will get to look over the shoulders of the Brits and Italians and learn the art of low observable technology. You can whine about the percent of industrial participation but being on the program will be a fantastic learning experience, and Japanese engineers are going to benefit greatly from what they learn working with their European counterparts.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Meanwhile, as the Europeans are still trying to master their own 5th gen stealth fighters the US is already flying one or more prototype 6th gen fighters, a USAF program called NGAD for Next Generation Air Defense.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

“If Japan wishes to play a significant role in the defense of rules based international order, it should develop its own domestically designed military aircraft, a modern version of the Mitsubishi Zero fighter.”

But isn’t that exactly what the FX is?

”The Mitsubishi F-X is a sixth-generation stealth fighter in development for the Japan Air Self-Defense Force. It is Japan's first domestically developed stealth fighter jet and will replace the Mitsubishi F-2 by the mid–2030s.” Wikipedia

5 ( +6 / -1 )

One thing to consider is the reliability of one’s partners. The Panavia Tornado (think F14’s little brother) was a collaborative effort between Britain, Germany, and Italy. At some point in the developmental life of the aircraft, the Germans passed the blueprints on to the Russians.

That will not be happening again.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

As far as I know, Japan together with United States and Russia are the only countries capable of manufacturing jet engines with more than 15 tons of thrust.

You forgot SNECMA of France, MTU Aero Engines of Germany, Motor Sich of Ukraine, Xi'an Aero Engines and Guizhou Aircraft Industry Corporation both of China, and then there is Eurojet who makes the engines used in the Typhoon which is a consortium of Rolls Royce of UK, Avio of Italy, ITP of Spain and MTU Aero Engines of Germany.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

More money down the drain.The fighting in Ukraine is supposed to be more like a conventional WW2 like war. Russian tank turrets have spent more time in the air than their fighter jets.

The fighting in Ukraine is a great example of the value of all aspect stealth aircraft. Both Ukraine and Russia have ground based air defenses that make it too dangerous for either side to fly far into the other sides contested airspace with their legacy 4th gen non-stealthy aircraft. You see the Russians shooting cruise missiles from bombers but those bombers are shooting from inside Russia. They are not flying into Ukraine itself to attack. And they shoot missiles from a sub rather than from land now because the HIMARS are being used with great effect to destroy Russian arms and fuel stockpiles on land. If either side had an all aspect low observable aircraft like the B-2, F-22 or F-35 it would be a game changer. Fortunately for the Ukraine the SU-57 isn't it and what stealth characteristics they do have doesn't buy them any protection from all the IIR guided weapons the Ukraine is using. So for now you have a stand off in the air over Ukraine.

I read in the news today that the current defense appropriations act making its way through Congress appropriates money to train Ukrainian pilots in the US on US aircraft. Meditate on that a bit.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

There is practically zero chance Japan's enemies can develop such new age fighter jet capability

Well fighto practically and realistically you have no way of knowing that any other military can produce technology equal to or greater than .

Given the fact that both China and Russia are renowned for attaining foreign technologies through espionage and cyber.

The USA and UK have been playing catch up with military tech forever.

China invented gunpowder and Hitler's scientists new age fighter jets and missiles

Not to mention the new jets will be produced in the UK and outfitted with USA digital components.

Japan is just being used as a cash cow and sponge by the UK and USA.

Japan should develop and produce it's own Jets and has plenty of the trace elements and minerals needed for the digital equipment.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

"Harrier was the only jet,that the US ever bought from England"

Nope. The Canberra, our B-57, was a very versatile and useful aircraft.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

gkamburoffToday  10:38 am JST

"Harrier was the only jet,that the US ever bought from England

Britain. Not England.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Japan getting into bed with this project probably isn't a good idea.( well it is in "some" ways) but, The brits will complain, about costs, the project will always be late ( just look at the HS rail link), and the Japanese will have endless meetings, so by the time this is actually produced, it'll be out of date. The Japanese will accidentally leak all the data, similar to how Japan lost the AEGIS data. Personally Im not so sure all these hyper expensive planes are actually worth it. It's almost got to the point these things are too expensive to produce, loose, or even use. Although, we do need them. And what ever numbers they put out today, the Brits will probably cut that number in half, and the purchase price will probably be double.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Mitsubishi design and Land Rover reliability?

1 ( +4 / -3 )

There is practically zero chance Japan's enemies can develop such new age fighter jet capability

Ground based air defense radars and missile systems that exist today have already made 4th gen combat jets incapable of surviving long enough to reach their targets. That is what drives the requirement for aircraft with all aspect low-observable characteristics. It has very little to do with the air to air threat. Westerm 4th gen fighters with the latest AESA radars and long range air to air missiles can still detect and shoot first in an air to air engagement. Aircraft radars cannot be as powerful and long ranged as ground based radars. It is the sophisticated new ground based radars and fast long ranged surface to air missiles that make entering an enemies airspace prohibitively dangerous for non L-O aircraft.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Looks promising. It’s good to see Japanese and British innovators working. Hopefully they can apply to Space exploration for our next generation. I’d like to see more collaborations between technology giants.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

New military tech is megabucks so collaboration can make sense.

Completely agree. Shared cost and larger ;production runs are the key to cost effective programs.

Being two island nations, the requirements for new military hardware may overlap.

Not sure I agree 100% with this, mainly due to geography. The distances involved in the Pacific dwarf whatever is relevant in Europe. This is one of the main reasons why the Chinese J-20 is what it is: heavy emphasis on range and loitering time. At the same time, the F-22 has fairly short legs end the F-35 even more so, meaning they depends on tanker support, which is a massive weak point (long story short: the J-20 seems to be a long range platform which would excel in hunting assets like AWACS and tanker planes. Lack of tankers would turn the US air force from a strategic force to tactical one).

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Fighto

Good decision.

It makes sense from a financial and project managament perspective, agree with that.

These next generation fighter jets will take the fight up to Japans enemies in the region in the coming decades as Japans military keeps rising.

Uhm, in reality fighters by themselves aren't the be all and end all. The combination of fighers, radar and other detection technology, information sharing, force training and many many other factors make the difference.

There is practically zero chance Japans enemies - Fascist Russia, totalitarian China and North Korea - can develop such new age fighter jet capability.

There is actually a 100% chance countries like Russia and especially China can develop this kind of capability. We know this, because they already have done so.

The Chinese have one 5th generation fighter already in service (the J-20) and another one in late stages of development (J-35).

The Russians have the Su-57 (admittedly more like 4.5th generation, but still not something to snigger at and unlike the UK and Japanese jets, this one has actually been build and can fly).

All fo these (J-20, J-35 and Su-57) are much further along the development curve than the Japanese ¥Uk fighters.

Also, you call China totalitarian, whereas it is actually authoritarian and the real totalitarian state is North Korea. If you are going to throw around adjectives, at least get them right, words have meanings and meanings matter. Don't use words you don't understand.

Furthermore, this collaboration should pave the way for Japan to - hopefully - join AUKUS and The Five Eyes military partnership. Win-win for Asia-Pacific.

I for one hope that Japan is smart and doesn't chose any side in this pissing contest, especially not the side that looks most likely to lose long term.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Desert Tortoise

Ground based air defense radars and missile systems that exist today have already made 4th gen combat jets incapable of surviving long enough to reach their targets.

Incorrect. These systems make the task more difficult, but they can still be achieved. Every aerial launched weapon that hits Kiev, Lviv etc is launched by a 4th generation jet (and sometimes much much much older ones).

That is what drives the requirement for aircraft with all aspect low-observable characteristics. It has very little to do with the air to air threat.

fair point

Westerm 4th gen fighters with the latest AESA radars and long range air to air missiles can still detect and shoot first in an air to air engagement.

Overall born out by reality, although I would like to mention a lot if that comes down, not to the fighters, but the Western support systems (WACS, etc) and lack of said systems on the opposing side.

Aircraft radars cannot be as powerful and long ranged as ground based radars. It is the sophisticated new ground based radars and fast long ranged surface to air missiles that make entering an enemies airspace prohibitively dangerous for non L-O aircraft.

This is where I disagree. Firstly, aerial radars like AWACS and A-50 Beria have an advantage because they are flying and thus higher. This leads to longer ranges as the horizon is further away.

It is true that ground based systems can be more powerful which adds range, as they can have more heavier equipment than these airborne systems, but they also come with one massive drawback: immobility.

In any war with a technologically able opponent these land based stations will be on page 1 of the "things we are going to hit on day 1" list. As they are not moveable, they will be very very unlikely to see the sun rise on day 2.

So yes, these ground based radars are very powerful, but they are also very easily located, mapped and will be on the receiving end of multiple salvos of precision guided munitions (which are much much much more common these days) on day 1 of any conflict.

Overall, airborne radars are maybe less powerful, but much more survivable.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

A good move that could spur further cooperation between friends. Both nations must be able to locally produce 100% of the aircraft or it becomes pointless as the distance between them would make it all too easy to embargo essential parts when they are needed most.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Remember Vickers built the Kongo and other early Japanese dreadnoughts heavy cruisers etc

This was when the UK was the leading economic and naval power in the world and japan was a rapidly growing rising power in Asia.

These days, both are at the absolute best status quo powers and probably more realistically speaking has-been second tier powers. I love the Brits and the Japanese peoples, but the economical and geopolitical situation has changed too much to make this comparison useful.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

I think this news does not please the sore losers of the US and its weapon industries..

Personally, I don't think it is a good idea to share any military technology with Japan. Japan has a history of using technology against the very nations which supply it.

Ignorance is bold..

NOW china has something to be worried about

Keep dreaming Fantasies, Lol...

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

The phrase, "Two heads are better than one," comes to mind.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The Sopwith Camel is better.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Samit Basu

I agree with Samit, Japan should do as the Americans.

Produce the Tempest with the British (same as the F35) and keep the Mitzubishi FX (Raptor F22) for themselves and don't share that technology with anyone, includiing " strong allies" !

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Overall, airborne radars are maybe less powerful, but much more survivable.

An S-400 battery can detect and engage an incoming 4th gen fighter with the best AESA you can cram in the nose of one long before said AESA can detect the S-400 battery or the missile it just fired at it. It can fire two missiles and be rolling down the road less than 60 seconds later. Meditate on that. The missile battery doesn't need to illuminate the target after launch. The missiles have their own active seeker. The launch vehicle and radar can both leave after the missile is fired. Conventional Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses SEAD tactics and weapons do not work with modern ground based air defenses. Only all aspect L-O aircraft, manned and unmanned that can sneak up on enemy air defense systems undetected are going to be survivable. The same is true of aircraft attacking other targets until all those high end air defenses have been destroyed.

AWACS as we know it isn't going anywhere near S-400. Neither are Rivet Joint or the E-8. Those S-400 batteries are highly mobile, and can set up in under a minute, shoot 15 seconds later and be rolling a minute after that. It is just too easy for the S-400 user to set up an ambush for that AWACS of the Rivet Joint. A nation can defend its own airspace with things like AWACS and 4th gen fighters but they won't get you past a nation defended with stuff like the best versions of HQ-8 or S-400.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Produce the Tempest with the British (same as the F35) and keep the Mitzubishi FX (Raptor F22) for themselves and don't share that technology with anyone, includiing " strong allies" !

One of the reasons the F-22 isn't shared is that so much of the airplane is classified. Spare parts and worn out parts have to handled as classified material with couriers, chains of custody and the like. As a result the F-22 is as costly to fly per hour as a B-52. Worn out parts can't be tossed in a pile in a desert boneyard either. They must be guarded and very carefully disposed of so some clever adversary can't figure out the airplanes secrets from its discards.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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