Japan and the UK have agreed to explore options for co-developing a future fighter aircraft, but Tokyo will also continue discussions on developing a next-generation combat jet with other countries, the Japanese Ministry of Defense says.
Japan’s Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Agency has agreed to exchange information about future fighter technology with the UK Ministry of Defense, as well as a possible co-development, according to a 16 March news release.
The agreement keeps the door open to working with other countries on future projects.
“Regarding the possibility of international joint development on fighter aircraft in the future, we will continue to exchange views with other countries,” Japan’s MoD says.
Japan and the UK have flirted with a partnership on fighter technology for several years. In 2011, the Eurofighter consortium, which includes the UK, proposed to sell the Typhoon to the Japanese Air Self-Defence Forces, which was rejected in favour of the Lockheed Martin F-35A.
More recently, the RAF deployed four Typhoons to Japan in October to participate in exercises with JASDF Boeing F-15Js and Mitsubishi F-2s.
The agreement with Japan to study future fighter programmes comes only two months after the British government won a $125 million contract from the Turkish government to initiate collaboration on the TF-X fighter programme.