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Re: Lockheed to pitch hybrid "F-22/F-35" design for export to Japan

Sat Dec 01, 2018 7:59 pm

Some interesting info on the indecision Japan has with its follow on fighter development, the continued investment in fighter technologies and a suggestion that any intro in service is now looking more like 2035...

Japanese acquisition officials reveal next steps in search for advanced fighter jet

Japan is pushing ahead with research and development into advanced fighter jet technology, despite uncertainty over its acquisition strategy for a next-generation fighter and questions about the degree to which Japanese industry will be involved in the program.

These technologies include a new fighter engine, thrust vectoring control, stealth shaping for low observability as well as the weapons carriage and release mechanism for internal weapons bays, according to representatives from Japan’s Acquisition, Technical and Logistics Agency, or ATLA, who spoke at the Japan International Aerospace Exhibition in Tokyo, which ended Nov. 30.

Several of these technologies were fitted on the Mitsubishi X-2, a technology demonstrator built by the Japanese and used to test and validate several of these features.

Since then Japan has continued development work on the 15-ton thrust XF-9 afterburning turbofan. That turbofan displayed an improvement up to 70 percent during the time it took to spool up to full thrust from idle, when compared to the earlier XF-5 used by the X-2, said Lt. Gen. Hiroaki Uchimura, director general of aerial systems at ATLA.

Japan is also working on an advanced active electronically scanned array radar, as well as manufacturing techniques to reduce or eliminate the need for fasteners in aircraft structures. Neither feature found its way to the X-2, but work continues on both fronts, with the radar having been tested in the laboratory and slated for flight tests onboard a Mitsubishi F-2 fighter jet test bed.

The continuing R&D effort is reflected in the budget requests the Ministry of Defense made for next fiscal year, which begins in April 2019. This includes $194.6 million for research into fighter “mission system integration studies and manned-unmanned aircraft teaming technology,” and is on top of the $1.7 billion Japan has invested in fighter research since 2009. That first figure is also more than 10 times the amount spent on R&D for Japan’s Mitsubishi F-2 fighter, according to Uchimura.

Japan’s next-generation fighter will replace the F-2 around the mid-2030s, and both Uchimura and ATLA Commissioner Nobuaki Miyama, who spoke at different conference sessions at the aerospace exhibition, touched on five critical attributes for Japan’s next fighter program.

These include its ability to secure air superiority over potential adversaries; the ease of upgrading as new technologies emerge; the latitude to domestically perform upgrades and sustainment without requiring overseas approval; the level of involvement of local industries in performing those upgrades and sustainment; and the need for the fighter and program as a whole to have a “realistic and feasible” cost.

Japan is currently studying several different procurement strategies for its next-generation fighter, including a wholly domestically developed and manufactured design, an international collaboration, or what it calls a “spinoff” development of an existing design.

Japan and the United Kingdom have agreed to exchange information with each other for their respective fighter programs. Reuters previously reported that both Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman responded to Japan’s request for information on potential fighter offerings, with the former said to have an “F-22/F-35 hybrid” in mind.

https://www.defensenews.com/digital-sho ... ghter-jet/
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Re: Lockheed to pitch hybrid "F-22/F-35" design for export to Japan

Sun Dec 02, 2018 2:49 am

Thought I would put this here in the context of what Japan is doing with their existing fighter fleet and how this inputs into their future fighter structure.

Looks like more info will come out shortly about upgrades to the F-15 fleet but at the moment it appears the upgrade will cover EW upgrades, a radar upgrade, potentially the new pylon that Boeing is demonstrating with greater AAM carriage (I don't expect it will involve opening up the extra outside wing pylons) and potentially several additional air to surface weapons.

US government, Boeing to help Japan upgrade missile, electronic warfare capabilities for F-15 jets

Japan’s planned upgrade of its Boeing F-15 Eagle fighter jets will involve support from the United States and Boeing, the Japanese Defense Ministry has confirmed.

Shigeyuki Uno, the principal deputy director of the defense planning and programming division of Japan’s Ministry of Defense, told Defense News during an interview at the ministry’s headquarters that the U.S. government and Boeing will provide support for the upgrade through the Foreign Military Sales process, adding that the Japanese defense and aircraft industry will also be involved.

The Defense Ministry requested $89 million to upgrade two of its F-15J/DJ interceptors in its latest budget request for its next fiscal year, presumably to serve as prototypes for the upgrade program. A further $386.7 million was requested for nonrecurring costs for the program.

The upgrades will cover what the budget request describes as “new electronic warfare equipment with the ability to respond to increased capabilities of neighboring countries’ air forces.” The upgrades are also expected to increase the number of missiles Japan’s F-15s can carry, as well as integrate standoff missiles such as the AGM-158 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile.

Boeing displayed a model of its Advanced F-15 Eagle concept carrying 18 air-to-air missiles at the Japan International Aerospace Exhibition in Tokyo that ended Nov. 30, a significant increase from the maximum of eight carried by the F-15 in its current air defense configuration.

Uno also confirmed that the F-15J’s radar would be part of the upgrade, although the budget request document did not specifically mention that an improved radar will be part of the program.

While Uno did not say so, the new radar will almost certainly be an active electronically scanned array, as Boeing has a clear pathway integrating such radars on the F-15, with U.S. Air Force F-15C/Ds, Singapore’s F-15SGs and Saudi Arabia’s F-15SAs using the Raytheon AN/APG-63(V)3 radar, while American F-15E Strike Eagles are being fitted with the AN/APG-63(V)1 by the same company.

Uno added that Japan’s newer F-15J/DJs, which were originally built to Multi-Stage Improvement Program standards — of which about 88 were further upgraded in the past decade to incorporate additional improvements like Link 16 — will be the first to receive this latest round of improvements.

Japan’s midterm defense program guidelines, set to be released by the end of 2018, are expected to provide more details on this program, including the number of F-15s Japan plans to upgrade.

Mitsubishi built 213 F-15s under license for Japan between 1981 and 1999, of which some 200 remain in service with seven combat squadrons based throughout Japan, and one more acting as a dedicated aggressor unit.

https://www.defensenews.com/digital-sho ... f-15-jets/

The model Boeing showed at the recent Japanese Aerospace Exhibit.

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Re: Lockheed to pitch hybrid "F-22/F-35" design for export to Japan

Thu Feb 07, 2019 5:52 am

The Japanese MoD have now confirmed it will be moving forward on an indigenous aircraft, likely with help from at least one foreign partner, and no go for the local manufacturer or development of a foreign aircraft.

For those that had the dream alive, a Japanese modified F-22 is officially dead…

I expect with the already growing military cooperation between Japan and the UK that an arrangement on technologies that could be shared between Tempest and the Japanese F-3 is almost certain. Japan keeps pushing their dates out though with this article now saying end of 2030s, instead of initially 2030 and then mid 2030s, which suits tempest cooperation. I’d also expect potentially more F-35s ordered in the late 2020s after the initial 147 have been delivered to either replace the whole F-15 fleet or some early F-2 deliveries so the rest of the F-2 fleet can be managed.

Lastly, US$50 billion for 100 aircraft, assume they are including development costs which would probably be at least US$20 billion and likely US$25 billion, should see them target US$200-250 million per aircraft acquisition.

Japan to Pursue Locally Developed Next Generation 'Future Fighter' Project

The Japanese Ministry of Defense (MoD) confirmed that it has ruled out the development or local production of existing foreign-designed fighter jets to replace its fleet of F-2 multirole fighter aircraft, a Mitsubishi license-produced variant of Lockheed Martin’s F-16, by the 2030s, according to a MoD source.

The source said that the development and production of Japan’s new F-3 stealth fighter jet will be led by the country’s military aircraft industry with the possibility of collaboration with external partners including BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and Northrop Grumman, Jane’s reports on February 4.

“Our F-2 fighters are expected to retire from the late 2030s,” the MoD spokesperson was quoted as saying on February 1 by Jane’s. “In order to acquire new fighters that are capable of playing a central role in a future networked force … the MoD will promote necessary research and launch, at an early timing, a Japan-led project with the possibility of international collaboration in sight.”

The program is expected to officially kick off this year in line with the Mid-Term Defense Program (MTDP) and the National Defense Program Guidelines (NDPG), which set out Japan Self-Defense Force (JSDF) capability targets over a period of about 10 years. The entire Future Fighter (F-3) Program is anticipated to take about 15 years.

In 2016, Japan unveiled an experimental fifth-generation fighter technology demonstrator, dubbed X-2 “Shinshin” (formerly the ATD-X), which was intended to serve as the basis for the F-3 fighter. However, Japan reportedly scrapped further development of the aircraft in 2018. Given the recent revelations, however, the X-2 platform could be revived as Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), the company that developed the X-2’s fuselage, is expected to take the lead in developing the F-3.

Japan has been looking for international partners to collaborate with MHI and various Japanese subcontractors on the F-3 for the past year. The MoD issued a request for information to international aircraft makers in 2018 for its stealth fighter program. BAE Systems, EADS, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and Northrop Grumman reportedly responded to the request.

“U.S. aircraft maker Lockheed Martin, the purported frontrunner, has recently submitted a design proposal for a twin-engined air superiority fighter jet that combines the F-22’s airframe with the F-35’s electronic suite,” I wrote in August of last year. “ The proposal, however, has been dismissed as too expensive by Japan’s Ministry of Finance.”

The MoD intends to procure up to 100 new fifth-generation air superiority fighters at an estimated cost of $50 billion by the end of the 2030s. Notably, the cabinet of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also approved an increase of Japan’s existing order for 42 fifth-generation Lightning II F-35A stealth fighter jets — the aircraft’s conventional takeoff and landing variant — to 147 of the aircraft last December.

https://thediplomat.com/2019/02/japan-t ... r-project/
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Re: Lockheed to pitch hybrid "F-22/F-35" design for export to Japan

Thu Apr 25, 2019 11:06 pm

An interesting turn of events. Control of the engine and weapons seems reasonably straight forward release and doesn’t cover the real brains of the code, the sensor and fusion integration. This strikes of an attempt by LM and the US to keep Japan from moving to a foreign partner for development, such as the UK with Tempest.

US Offers Japan Access to F-35 Code for New Stealth Fighter

The U.S. government is willing to share at least a portion of the computer code used to operate the fifth-generation Lightning II F-35’s avionics and mission systems with Tokyo as part of Lockheed Martin’s pitch to co-develop a new stealth fighter with Tokyo, known as the F-3.

“The United States has proposed disclosing some of the top-secret details of its state-of-the-art F-35 stealth fighter jet to Japan to encourage joint development of an aircraft that will succeed the Air Self-Defense Force’s F-2 fighter,” the Japanese daily Yomiuri Shimbun reported on April 18. In detail, the U.S. has expressed its willingness to release the software installed in the F-35 to control parts including the aircraft’s engine and the missiles.

The F-35’s computer software, which has at least eight million lines of code, is currently exclusively held by the aircraft’s developer, Lockheed Martin, and is a closely guarded secret. The U.S. defense contractor last year submitted to the Japanese government a design proposal for a twin-engined next-generation air superiority fighter jet that combines the F-22’s airframe with the F-35’s electronic suite.

Lockheed Martin is one of five contenders seeking to partner with Japan on its so-called Future Fighter (F-3) Program, which will officially be launched this year in line with the Mid-Term Defense Program (MTDP) and the National Defense Program Guidelines (NDPG). Japan has been looking for international partners to collaborate with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), and other Japanese defense firms on the F-3 fighter for the past year.


https://thediplomat.com/2019/04/us-offe ... h-fighter/

More at the link.

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