The UK-Japan deal could integrate the Tempest and FX combat plans
The UK and Japan are in talks to coordinate their development programs for the next-generation fighter jet, the Tempest and FX respectively. If the agreement is formalized, it will be the first time that the two countries will work together on a military aviation program.
According to Reuters, one of the main points of the plan is to integrate the development of the fighters and find a single solution, thus reducing costs and risks. Additionally, as the two countries work together, there will be a natural increase in the total lineup of fighter jets, allowing for increased production rates, lower unit costs, and increased procurement with a reduced defense budget.
Another important aspect of the deal is that the United Kingdom can take over the responsibility of negotiating flights between European countries, while Japan will promote sales in the Asian market. The export of the new fighter jet is seen as an alternative to reduce acquisition costs while expanding the UK and Japan’s military and industrial presence in their spheres of influence.
A Reuters report says that while the two countries are looking for a partnership capable of creating a unique program, the aircraft assigned to each air force will be slightly different from each other.
If the deal is formalized, it could represent a shift in the military and geopolitical alliance between London and Tokyo, which are coming together industrially through an advanced war program. Traditionally, both countries have always favored a similar alliance with the United States.
For the British, the partnership will allow companies from the country to access markets in Asia, particularly Japan, traditionally dominated by American defense firms.
Japan, on the other hand, breaks with the post-World War II tradition of developing its own solutions for air force needs domestically. With the exception of license production agreements for US fighter jets such as the F-16, Japan has historically been isolated in its military programs.
The Tempest project is led by British conglomerate BAE Systems, while FX is led by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.
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