Japan has started developing unmanned, remotely-controlled fighter aircraft and plans to equip the military with them by 2035 in light of China’s advancements in military technologies, the Nikkei newspaper reported on Friday.
Japanese companies Subaru and Mitsubishi are participating in the research necessary to create such unmanned fighters. Mitsubishi will be designing an information-sharing system between aircraft while Subaru will be developing remote and flight-control capabilities. Japan may cooperate with companies from the United Kingdom or the United States as well, Nikkei reported.
The Japanese Defence Ministry aims to develop fighter drones in three stages — creating remotely-controlled aircraft, then combining operations where one manned aircraft controls multiple drones, and designing fully autonomous squadrons.
In addition to drones, Japan aims to develop next-generation manned fighter jets by 2035.
According to the newspaper, China possesses over 1,000 fourth-generation fighter jets able to reach supersonic speeds, which is three times more than Japan has.