Friday, March 06, 2020

Massive blow to the UK Tempest Fighter Project...Japan's next-gen fighter to be built with US, not UK

via Nikkei
Japan plans to choose the U.S. as its partner for developing the successor to the F-2 fighter jet, while taking on most of the R&D costs to avoid leaving essential design information solely in American hands again, Nikkei has learned.

Tokyo was weighing the U.S. offer against a U.K. proposal that would have guaranteed it the freedom to update the new planes at will. But ultimately, it decided to stick with its top ally given that their security ties have significantly expanded in scope in recent years. An official decision will made within this year.

"Ensuring we can freely modify and upgrade [the new jets] in the future is extremely important," Defense Minister Taro Kono said. Japan's inability to freely update the F-2 has limited the usability of much of its fleet. 
Not sure how much I buy the part about not being able to freely upgrade the F-2.  Maybe it was part of the push to sell the F-35 but the way the US govt is allowing F-16s to still be sold I'm just not buying it (at least until I get more info).

Regardless this is a massive blow to the UK's Tempest Fighter Program.  Understandable though.  The UK can make moves to get involved in the Pacific but at the end of the day they're a European power and have a natural bias toward the Atlantic, not the Pacific.

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