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The Sky’s The Limit if U.K. and Japan Partner on Developing F-2 Successor Fighter Jet



Above: UK Future Combat Air System © BAE Systems



The U.K. has been a pioneer in air power for more than 100 years. We have consistently demonstrated our prowess for invention and innovation, including the turbojet engine in 1941, and the first vertical take-off and landing fighter, the Harrier. 


Our technical and industrial expertise has put the UK at the heart of successful international collaborations, including the Harrier, Tornado, Typhoon and F-35. The U.K.’s Future Combat Air programme is working to define and deliver the Tempest, a future combat air system for when the RAF Typhoon leaves service in 2040.


The U.K. envisages a dynamic and agile approach to partnering with Japan on the Tempest, a future combat air system. It is an opportunity to build on our already prosperous relationship and develop the tools and approaches to embrace the pace of technological change seen across all industrial sectors.


Current F-2 fighter jets of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force


For the U.K., working on a collaborative vision with Japan to develop technology for the successor of the F2 will enable both our nations to remain at the leading edge of combat air system technology.


The U.K. is looking to bring together like minded nations as part of an international partnership to work on the Tempest. Sustaining our critical combat air sectors and ensuring the best possible military capabilities, as well as ensuring each partner’s freedom of action. 


The UK is in a strong international position, thanks to our historic investment in the air domain. We have a world-class industrial base and highly successful framework of international partnerships. The UK believes in the strength of international partnerships and is keen to develop opportunities with Japan, which could bolster the already close relationship we both value and enable our nations to work closely together on future technological developments.


A partnership of this kind would provide us both with the freedom of modification and mutual benefits from collaborating on the critical technological developments to ensure the best capability is affordable. The U.K. approach to partnering aims to strengthen the already extensive Japan-U.K. trade links that contribute to our joint prosperity.


Japan provides access to exceptional and significant aerospace capabilities in materials, engineering, testing, manufacturing and supply chain, which complements those in the U.K.’s industries. For Japan, partnering with the U.K. offers access to world leading industrial and operational experience, advanced manufacturing, materials science and systems integration.


The technology developed in a collaborative programme with Japan will position both our industries to partner more widely across the aerospace sector, supporting and maintaining our sovereign capability in this key field.


We believe that a strategic partnership with Japan will strengthen the relationship between our two nations for years to come, through technology collaborations and bringing together our highly capable industries. 


The U.K. sees this as a once in a generation opportunity for an equal partnership that will allow both our nations the freedom of modifications we both need, while ensuring any future platforms and systems are interoperable with our key security partners, such as the U.S. 


RELATED READ: What is the F-2 Successor Fighter Jet? Here are the Basics


Author: Richard Berthon

Richard Berthon, Director of Future Combat Air Programmes, United Kingdom Ministry Of Defence  


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